In just a few weeks, Payson shut-ins won't have to lift a finger to get their hands on a good book.
In early January, the Payson Public Library's support organization, the Library Friends of Payson, will begin providing a book-delivery service to Payson residents of all ages who are unable to visit the library due to illness, disability, or who must depend on someone for transportation, program organizer Peggy Freeman said.
Freeman is a retired librarian who worked 17 years for the Maricopa County Library.
"They had a shut-in program very similar to the one we are putting together," she said, "and it really provides a great service to the community."
Through the free service, volunteers will provide patrons with large- or regular-print books, books on cassette and videos within the library's catalog.
Patrons can be long- or short-term shut-ins to qualify for the program. People recovering from surgery or a complicated pregnancy, for example, would qualify as short-term shut-ins.
The number of books to be delivered every two weeks will be determined during an initial at-home interview, where applicants will discuss their reading likes and dislikes, favorite authors and genres, and number of books they read or would like to read during the check-out period.
On their next visit, the volunteers will deliver a stack of preferred genre or specific titles, if available directly to the shut-in's home, and return two weeks later to replace them with others.
There will be no overdue fines. In the case of lost or damaged items, patrons will be billed for the replacement cost.
During their book delivery and pick-up visits, Freeman said, "Our volunteers will be encouraged to stay and chat a bit, because so many shut-ins have so few visitors and so little social interaction. We think this will be a good way to make them feel not so apart and detached from the rest of the world."
Although Freeman has already lined up a few volunteers, she needs more.
"They will have to use their own cars and pay for their gas, but how far will they have to be driving in Payson," she asked. "Besides, if they keep track of their mileage, they can use it as a tax deduction."
People interested in volunteering, receiving more information or signing themselves or someone else up for the program can call Freeman at 472-6662.