Library Outreach - At Home Services

Staying connected during isolation

Donors, like you, help At Home Services patrons stay connected during isolation.

Some patrons with long- or short-term disability, illness, or physical impairment do not have access to all the resources the library provides. That’s where At Home Services steps in, sending materials—books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, large print books—directly to patrons’ homes, helping keep them connected. This service also provides something less tangible but just as important: social interaction.

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Woman in wheelchair reading a book

The library’s here to keep our patrons connected to the world, to all the things that are important in life. 

These connections have only become more important now that patrons are socially and physically distanced, their movements even more limited than before. The challenge facing At Home Services is balancing the importance of the physical safety of patrons, many of whom are in high-risk categories for the coronavirus, while also recognizing the increased importance of staying engaged and connected to their library lifeline. The solution? Strengthened relationships.

These personal relationships are so valuable in a world where physical interactions are gone but social interactions are vital.

Building Relationships from Afar

The At Home Services phone line, operational from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, has become even more popular. Most of the calls are initiated because a patron wants to receive materials, but the patrons also want to talk with someone who recognizes their voice, who knows their name and their interests, and who can share in their life experiences, even from afar. Sometimes, the At Home Services staff member is the only person the patron will talk to that day. These personal relationships are so valuable in a world where physical interactions are gone but social interactions are vital.

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Man talking on cellphone

The books and DVDs are a gateway to the greater work of getting to know who their patrons are and learning how to make those connections...

Looking Forward

At Home Services circulated more than 35,000 books and materials to nearly 1,000 patrons in 2020 and received thousands of phone calls. Since the pandemic’s onset, staff members have also reached out to hundreds of patrons to personally offer updates on library services during COVID. The ability of departments like At Home Services to pivot during a crisis, to have the resources to evaluate their programs, and to continue their services through challenging times depends on the support of Friends.

Your generosity is keeping patrons connected to their whole selves.

While no one is sure how the future will take shape, the At Home Services staff have never been more sure of their purpose. “A lot of what we provide as a service has changed dramatically,” Dillon Young, Outreach Services Manager, says, “but what hasn’t changed is the desire of Hennepin County Library Outreach Services to continue to support people that rely on our services and our staff. We’re still here.”