Community Outreach: Bringing the Library to Youth & Seniors

In our recently concluded community survey, 83% of respondents said they used the library at least once in the past year. We also asked “Why haven’t you used any library services during the past year?” and 27% cited “I don’t have time/too busy.” We can assume that this applies to many who only used the library a few times in the past year, too.

library staff delivering books to retirement community
We take library books and other materials to people in retirement communities.
“With busier family schedules and growing numbers of senior citizens, there is an increased need for the library to expand what we’re already doing to take library materials and services out to where our patrons are,” said Margaret Conroy, Daniel Boone Regional Library executive director.

“It’s our next big initiative.”

To help busy families, we’ve increased the number of licensed child care centers we visit. Our staff does story times and brings books for the children to check out. We thank the Daniel Boone Regional Library Foundation for raising the funds for us to purchase our Book Rover, a specialized van equipped with carts that we load with books which makes it easier to take our services out to new locations. Eventually, we want to visit even more child care centers and other community centers.

children participating in story time at a local child care center
In addition to taking library books to child care centers, we do story times during our visits, too.
We’re also working on ways to serve more senior citizens and homebound individuals. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those aged 65 and older are the fastest growing population segment in both Boone and Callaway Counties. Nationwide, 9% of this population is homebound. We already visit some retirement communities and individual homes, but we realize that even more people need and want reading materials, music and movies that we can bring them. The DBRL Foundation focused its 2019 fall fundraising campaign on this need.

Some of the funds we could raise through a proposed levy increase in Callaway County would be dedicated to increasing these outreach services to child care centers, the aging and the homebound in Callaway County. The measure goes before voters on the April 2020 ballot. The library will host a public forum on Proposition L on Tuesday, March 3 at the Holts Summit Public Library.

According to Conroy, “We love it when people come to our library buildings, but some people can’t make it there due to lack of time or physical limitations. We’ve been providing bookmobile services and visiting homebound patrons for more than 60 years, and those services are becoming even more important. In the past few years, we’ve expanded our outreach efforts, but there is so much more we want to do. Many value the library’s services, and we want to make them more convenient and accessible to everyone living in Boone and Callaway Counties.”