Upper Arlington News

Volunteers sought for library outreach program


Upper Arlington Library officials hope to recruit community volunteers to bolster a long-running program that takes books, movies and other materials to people who can't access local branches.

For more than 20 years, the UAPL has sought to take the library to local patrons who, due to health reasons, age or other issues simply can't visit the library's three branches themselves.

While similar outreach services are provided by the Columbus Metropolitan Library and other area public libraries, they frequently involve once-a-month deliveries of general materials in lobbies of senior- and other assisted-living facilities.

The UAPL, on the other hand, has a dedicated staff member who gathers materials specific to the requests and interests of those who sign on to take part in the UAPL Outreach Program. Library volunteers not only deliver items to seven group homes, but also to private residences.

Those volunteers pick up and drop off materials weekly at private homes and on a bi-weekly basis at the other facilities.

The program currently serves 105 patrons, but the library hopes to enlist more volunteers to help with what they believe is a unique offering.

"We will provide personalized service," said Jen Downing, outreach librarian. "I will hand-pick books and other materials to provide to our patrons, based on their preferences.

"I adore the personal relationships I've developed with our patrons through this. It's really fun to be able to bring the library to them."

Downing said volunteers make deliveries each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

"There are six different routes," she said. "Basically, we could not exist without the generous donation of time by our volunteers."

Jennifer Faure, the UA Library's community engagement specialist, said as few as five new volunteers could substantially assist the program.

"We're talking about a one- to two-hour commitment per month," she said. "Recently, we've lost several of our volunteers for various reasons."

Faure said prospective volunteers can apply at the library's Main Branch, 2800 Tremont Road, or by emailing her at jfaure@ualibrary.org.

All applicants will be subject to background checks, as well as a review of their driving records.

"The other thing we're looking for is substitutes," Faure said. "They'd be on our call list if we need them."

In addition to volunteers, the UAPL outreach program always accepts new patrons who can register to have library materials delivered to them.

"We offer that to patrons who cannot physically come to the library," Downing said.

Generally, the outreach program is available to eligible patrons who live within the city of Upper Arlington.

Deliveries also are made to people living at Abbington of Arlington, Arlington Court, First Community Village, The Forum at Knightsbridge, Mill Run Gardens and Care Center, National Church Residences at Mill Run and Whetstone Garden and Care Center.

Additional information about signing up for the program can be obtained calling 614-486-9621, ext. 128, or by contacting Downing at jdowning@ualibrary.org.