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Royal Voluntary Service blog
Find out about the people behind Royal Voluntary Service in our series of guest stories from our volunteers, staff and partners.

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Books battle loneliness in older people

Man holding bookAhead of National Libraries Day on Saturday 6 February, we’re celebrating the power of books and highlighting our volunteers who work in our home library services across the country.

Libraries are a vital service in our communities, providing a variety of services to the public. For older people who enjoy reading or listening to a recording but can't get out of the house, our home library services offer a vital link to the local library. These Books on Wheels services deliver 110,000 books to older people across the nation every year.

Sarah Wallis is the Service Manager for our Home Library in York, which enriches the lives of 102 older people and works with 38 volunteers.

“Last week, I spoke to Sandra who’d contacted us as she has heard we offer help accessing e-books on tablet computers. This is a new service that my volunteers are offering to older people.

“We had a lovely chat and she told me all about her dear husband who sadly passed away last year. The iPad was something that he used and she had lost a lot of confidence and was scared to use it herself. She’d attended an IT session locally but was very anxious and left early.

"I arranged to visit her and we chatted about the services we offer; how we can visit with books and also help her access e-books online. We arranged for a volunteer to visit her the following week. I also sat with her and showed her a few simple steps to turning on the iPad and searching the internet. She said she would have a go before our volunteer, Miriam, was due to visit so she felt a bit more comfortable. During our meeting, it became apparent that Sandra is disabled and struggles to get out so I gave her information on local services and some social gatherings in the Libraries."

Sarah Wallis, York Home Library Service Manager

“At the end of my visit, Sandra seemed really upbeat and had a list of things she was going to research on the internet including scouring the library online catalogue for new books. She was very much looking forward to Miriam’s visit.”

Our volunteers bring a selection of books, large print, DVDs, CDs and audio tapes to older people in their home on a regular basis. The volunteer is also a friendly face and a useful check on the safety and well-being of the older person.

If you know someone who may benefit from our home library services, have a look at our Get help pages.

Want to make a difference to the lives of older people in your area? Find out more about how to become a volunteer.

Posted by Sarah Wallis, Home Library Service Manager at 00:00 Thursday, 04 February 2016.

Labels: Books, Home Library Service, Books on Wheels,