The library service is now able to prepare Book Bags for customers at Stornoway Library. The service is specifically for library customers who have no internet access, are visually impaired, shielding or housebound.

Library members who would like to take advantage of the service can contact the library to make a request, or complete an online request form.

The Book Bags will have to be collected from a library at this stage. People can nominate a friend, family member of neighbour to collect the bag on their behalf, but the library service can also liaise with a volunteer on their behalf who will arrange a suitable time to deliver the books.

Library staff will make up the bags, aiming to meet each person’s tastes and preferences – as far as possible! Those requesting a book bag would need to be able to collect their bags from their front door, where volunteers will drop them off, or have someone able to do so on their behalf.

The library service will be working with Health & Social Care to ensure that the bags of books reach people in need. The lockdown has meant that libraries have been closed for several months, and many of those without Internet access or for many other reasons, might have had no access to books during this time. Studies have shown how vital books and reading are in combatting loneliness and social isolation and improving mental wellbeing.

Kathleen Milne, Libraries Manager for Western Isles Libraries said: “Over lockdown, the library service has never been shut completely as we have lots of eBooks and eAudio books available through the eLibrary. However, eBooks are not for everyone, and can’t replace the tactile pleasure and satisfaction people get from a real book. We are really glad to finally be able to provide books to those who have been deprived of materials over the lockdown period.”

Staffing resources, Scottish Government guidelines and safety measures permitting, the library service aims to gradually extend the Book Bag service to more areas as well as possibly reintroducing limited mobile library kerbside deliveries and a ‘call and collect’ service when feasible.

For further information, contact the library at:

www.cne-siar.gov.uk/yourlockdownlibrary

01851 822744

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