Books on Wheels program making library services more accessible

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 1:39 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The public library is a resource anyone can use to get books, movies and music for free. What about folks who want that resource, but can’t get to the library on their own? Cabell County Public Library has a Books on Wheels program that brings the library to you.

Some remember a similar service decades ago, with a cart full of books driving through Huntington. This is meant to be a modern, personalized approach.

“With Books on Wheels it’s more individually catered, it’s right to the door of specific people,” said Jeff Tigchelaar at Cabell County Public Library. “We have a piece of paper on file that they tell a little bit about themselves, what they’re looking for whether it’s books or music.”

After Tigchelaar gets an idea of what the patron wants, he browses what’s in stock and picks what they may like.

Once a month he gets in his car and delivers them by hand. It’s like a monthly subscription box, hand-delivered from the library.

It started as a contactless service into the pandemic, but they’ve found many patrons need the contact more than anything.

“With some patrons it ends up being you just hand it to them and leave, or you just knock and leave it outside the door, but others you can tell it’s kind of a big event for them to get the library to come visit them and bring them their stuff,” said Tigchelaar. “They want to hang out, they want to talk. I’m willing to listen. It’s been a cool exchange.”

The library is a free service meant to be accessible to anyone. This helps with that access.

“Especially people who might be limited in their mobility or otherwise, for them to be able to get those services and get those materials, isn’t just important, it’s essential,” said Tigchelaar. “It is very satisfying to be able to be the medium or the vessel that delivers that to them.”

The librarians driving from one end of the county to the other to deliver the books by hand. They estimate they consistently serve nearly 20 people each month.