A bit of history...The Outreach Department provides programs and services to patrons who cannot use our facilities in a traditional manner and partnering with Mecklenburg County Senior Center is a perfect fit. We offer regular literacy programs at the Shamrock facility on Willard Farrow Drive. The Willard Farrow location serves a diverse population, which includes seniors from Russia, Asia and Latin America. Twice a month, Irania Patterson visits the facility and offers programs in Spanish. In our quest to understand our patrons needs, she presented our Library by Mail service to the group and twenty-five qualified people signed up for the service! Within a week of processing the applications, books were mailed as requested. Even though our Library by Mail coordinator, Connie Ellington does not speak Spanish, she was able to pick up key words from the applications and mail patrons books and other material. One recipient was so excited about reading Spanish language books, she insisted on coming to the Library to thank Connie. The patron was over joyed to read her books. She said (translated) "I wanted that book for years. I love the books and the service, thank you so much. I did not have anything to read until the books came in the mail!" She kissed and hugged the staff before she left. We hope to replicate this service for other patrons at the facility.
We recently learned that the transportation service used to bring the seniors to the facility has been cut and many seniors will not be able to participate in the social and educational opportunities that are part of the nutrition program. The Library by Mail program will serve an important role in keeping the seniors connected to community resources as well as keeping them engaged through reading. Both aspects are important for healthy aging and life long learning. To learn more about our Library by Mail program visit www.cmlibrary.org.