BY SALONEE MISTRY
Monash Public Library is doing its best to keep elderly patrons' spirits high during these wearying times by including books in each Meals on Wheels delivery to keep them company.
Library staff spoke with each recipient on the phone to ascertain their reading tastes, before selecting titles from their numerous collections for them. They then packaged the books to be sent with a Meals on Wheels delivery.
Retirement village resident Kayer Packer benefited from the initiative and said she absolutely loved the idea.
“The book I was reading was almost over and so the call from the library came at the perfect time,” Ms Packer said.
“It was extremely helpful...I am happy about [the program] and grateful the library decided to start this.”
The initiative was the brainchild of City of Monash CEO Andi Diamond who thought libraries could provide reading material to Meals on Wheels clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
City of Monash Mayor Stuart James said the phone calls to their community’s most vulnerable members were a great way for library staff to stay in touch.
“It has been a rewarding experience for everyone, as teams across council have worked together to coordinate this initiative, ensuring that vulnerable and isolated residents receive some extra special care,” Cr James said.
“The response has been wonderful and the team has had feedback about how thoughtful the gesture was and some of our clients said they wish they could give the staff a big hug.”
Monash Public Library has so far dispatched around 230 books as part of the initiative.
However, the library has also found other ways to continue interacting with non-Meals on Wheels members, by producing online content.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced libraries can open on June 1, as long as there are no more than 20 people in a single room.
Until life returns to normal, Monash Public Library staff will remain in touch with its members.
Cr James said City of Monash staff are working hard during these tough times.
“The COVID-19 crisis has forced many organisations and businesses to change the way they deliver services and we are no different at council,” he said.
“We are seeing innovation and different ways to serve the community that may well last beyond the virus.”