Library launches home delivery service

Volunteers will deliver books to residents’ homes who cannot make it to the Mt. Lebanon Public Library during COVID-19.

If you can’t get to the Mt. Lebanon Public Library during this global pandemic, but you’re still eager to dive into a new nonfiction drama—you’re not alone.

Thanks to volunteers from the Friends of the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, a home delivery service launched this week that will provide drop-offs of your next book selection right at your doorstep. You must be a Mt. Lebanon resident and have a current Allegheny County library card (if you don’t have one,  call the library’s reference desk, 412-531-1912 extension 3, and they will walk you though the process), and you must be unable to come to the library because of health, transportation or mobility issues.

Creating community

It became important for library leaders early on during the pandemic to find ways to continue to connect with patrons.

“We knew everyone was feeling similar to us—they were lost and lonely and scared,” said Sharon Bruni, the library’s associate director for public services.

The service is just one way the library is working to continue building community during this unprecedented time.

The premise is simple: If you can’t get there, they’ll bring it to you.

All that you have to do is sign a waiver, order your books online or via telephone (call the reference desk at 412-531-1912, ext. #3) and designate a contact free drop-off location for the delivery.

If you don’t have a library card, you can call the library and a reference librarian will help you obtain one. You also must live in Mt. Lebanon and select a drop-off location in a safe, dry place that does not require volunteers to enter a building.

Oh, and you don’t even have to know what book you’d like to read: Library staff will help you find the perfect read based on your preferences.

Call or order online, and a volunteer will bring you your books.

Making it happen

Once all of that is completed, Laurena Schultz, public service librarian, will round up the books and place them on a contact free table.

That’s where the Friends volunteers come in.

“During this stressful and isolating time, our library volunteers are reaching out to the community to bring them library materials through contactless delivery,” Schultz said. “Homebound individuals are so appreciative of delivery services, especially right now. The Friends are supporting our community with a safe and less stressful way for them to continue to enjoy their library.”

The Friends, a separate fundraising body that supports the library, have a wide base of volunteers—as many as 120 who are active in helping at The Book Cellar (while that’s closed during the pandemic, they’ve also launched an online service for you to buy from home!)

More than 20 of those volunteers stepped right up to help deliver books to homes through this program, said Susan Tracey, Friends vice president. Deliveries will be scheduled Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Volunteers with the Friends have been ready and willing to help in any way they can, since the pandemic started.

“Volunteers would email me, ‘If there’s anything I can do, let me know. I really miss the Book Cellar. I really miss the library,” Tracey said.

The volunteers can’t wait to get started.

“They’ve said, ‘It will make me feel like I’m doing something, that I’m helping others,’” Tracey said.

With this program, everyone benefits—both patrons and volunteers, alike.

“We’re excited,” Tracey said.

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