Ex-librarian Edna backs voluntary book scheme
A former Oxfordshire librarian has rekindled her love of books thanks to a voluntary service bringing the joy of reading to those who can’t access their local library.
Edna Malcher, 88, who gets books delivered by the Home Library Service, is urging more people to give up some time to help the scheme grow across the county.
The former library worker said the service was a “life-line” which enabled her to connect with others in the community and share her passion for reading.
Edna, who lives in Banbury, said: “The person who comes to visit is very nice and friendly. I get the bag ready for him to swap and he makes sure that he brings books that I’m interested in or have requested. The main thing is having contact with someone, especially someone so pleasant.
"It’s very important to make a good impression – I’ve seen that from both sides having worked for the library and now using the Home Library Service.
“It’s also a way to connect with people in the local community. I’ve struck up a friendship with a neighbour over our love of books.”
Volunteers can organise drop-off times with the people they deliver to, making the role easy to fit around existing commitments. Expenses are paid and volunteers can do as many or as few journeys as they wish.
Volunteer Alison Baxter from Temple Cowley said: “After I retired I was looking for useful ways to fill my time and chose the Home Library Service because it was something I felt strongly about. I would be devastated if I could no longer access a library and I don’t want that to happen to other people.
“It isn’t a big commitment and can be fitted in easily around the rest of my life. It only takes an hour or so every three weeks. The service is important to the lady I visit because she needs something to occupy her time.
Rachel McQulliam from Woodstock added: “I decided to volunteer for the Home Library Service because I love reading and choosing books from the library. I imagined what it would be like if couldn’t get to a library anymore and wanted to do something to help those who can’t.
"It’s a small thing that I can fit in easily around work and other commitments but it makes a big difference to the people I visit.”
Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural Services Lorraine Lindsay Gale said: “Volunteers are a friendly face who can stop by once every three weeks to bring customers some new books or CDs and spend some time to share their own stories.
“The Home Library Service brings entertainment, pleasure and human contact to people, where they may otherwise have little or none. But of course it wouldn’t be possible without volunteers. We’d love to hear from anyone interested in making a positive difference to the lives of people in the community who need a bit of extra help.”