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Orange County Public Library creates home delivery service DELIVEReads

Abby Cowell, a UNC sophomore, enjoys quiet reading time on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, while sitting in the Walter Royal Davis Library on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus.

In November, the Orange County Public Library and Orange County Transportation Services partnered to create the program DELIVEReads, a program that transports books and library materials to community members who cannot access the building.

Maureen Socha, the collection development librarian at Orange County Public Library, said DELIVEReads is similar to a homebound delivery service that provides materials to senior community members and those who have illnesses. DELIVEReads delivers materials once a month, generally on the first Wednesday.

The program had been in the works for a long time before it started in November, Socha said. She said the process to develop the program required a team effort between the transportation department and public libraries.

Nishith Trivedi, Orange County's transportation director who helps to deliver the books, said the program serves Orange County residents and anyone within the county.

Socha said much of her inspiration for the DELIVEReads program came from Alamance County Public Libraries and their delivery services. Throughout the process of creating DELIVEReads, Socha said she worked closely with Alamance County to get the program ready. 

“We just didn't have the right perfect storm, I'll call it, where we have our transportation,” she said. “We needed somebody to get the books to people, so we found that and developed a relationship with transportation services.”

Socha said that though Chapel Hill has a separate library system, she hopes to work with them to incorporate DELIVEReads into Chapel Hill. 

Brandi Beeker is a transportation specialist with the Orange County Department on Aging. She said there are a lot of different services within the county that community members may be eligible for depending on their disability status and where they live.

Some library delivery systems require an individual to prove they are homebound, whether that be a doctor signoff or a signoff from someone in a care facility, Socha said. But, she said DELIVEReads does not require any person to prove that they are homebound.

“We had a bunch of names and we chose DELIVEReads because I really don't like the word homebound,” she said. “So, I like DELIVEREads because this doesn't just apply to seniors. It’s anybody in a situation. It could be surgery, could be pregnancy, could be somebody with a new child who can’t get out.”

While rollout has been slow, the library wants to ease people into the program, Socha said

Beeker said she is happy to see services delivered directly to the community, but that the in-person experience of the library is still important.

“We still have to remember and make sure that people are able to get to that place if they want to because there are things and resources available in the library as a place that you can't get anywhere else,” she said.

Socha said a senior patron reached out to the library over email, saying she was delighted that she could get library materials delivered to her. The patron said the service was the next best thing to having her husband come back.

@DTHCityState |

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