Forbes Library in Northampton has delivered library materials to homebound residents for decades. Due to budget constraints the service was at risk of being cut. Thanks to generous gifts by the Friends of Forbes Library, Lilly Library, several individual community members, and many volunteers the program is growing again. The Outreach Delivery Service uses volunteers to bring books, movies, CDs and magazines to those who are physically unable to access the library to patrons in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and private residences.

Lilly Library in Florence recently became a contributing partner organization for Outreach Delivery Service, allowing volunteers to borrow materials on behalf of their homebound patrons from Lilly’s collection and helping to identify prospective volunteers and patrons.

The Outreach Delivery Service currently serves 76 patrons in Northampton, Florence and Leeds and is coordinated by Maria Sperduti, who assigns 3 patrons per volunteer, based on the information gathered through the intake process. The volunteers, once trained and cleared via CORI/SORI background checks, give an average of 2 hours a week and visit each patron at their home or facility for an initial conversation about the patron’s interests and then agree upon the delivery schedule. Volunteers then come to the Forbes or Lilly, pick out items for each patron and check them out for three weeks using the patron’s library card.

There are currently 28 volunteers who offer services to those enrolled in the program. Sperduti and other members of the library staff provide informational sessions to the volunteers focusing on the additional resources that are available to help them choose the most enjoyable and relevant materials for the patrons they serve. Volunteers and patrons may apply on the website:

Lisa Downing, Director of Forbes Library, said, “The Outreach Delivery Service brings the joy of reading to many people in our community that would otherwise not have access but it is so much more. The personalized visits by our volunteers not only bring books, but companionship.”

Forbes Library, the public library for Northampton, Massachusetts, provides a wide range of information, materials and services to all of the people of Northampton and Massachusetts. Forbes Library is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is governed by an elected Board of Trustees. It is funded by a combination of City appropriation, endowments, and other gifts and grants. Forbes Library is a member of the Massachusetts Library System and the CW MARS network of libraries in Central and Western Massachusetts.