Reaching Out to the Community

Melanie Sperling has worked at Boone County Public Library for the past eleven years. Prior to working at BCPL, Melanie was an academic reference librarian. She is currently the Outreach Manager.

Our Outreach team works diligently to remove barriers to using the Library. A large portion of our Outreach program involves bringing library materials to a person’s home when they are unable to visit the Library. Any Boone County resident, regardless of age, who is unable to visit the Library due to a temporary or permanent physical limitation or lack of transportation, may receive delivery. Members of our Outreach team coordinate deliveries once per month. If you are interested in Outreach delivery, please call us at 342-2665, extension 8108.

The Outreach team also visits senior homes and other residential care facilities with programs geared especially to residents. A recent program involved a short video on the history of Ireland at Colonial Heights. Residents who had visited Ireland shared their photos and memories. Others shared stories about their Irish heritage.

Other groups that have asked the Outreach team to bring programs on the road include Beckfield College and National College. In each instance, students learned how they can use the Library’s Research Tools in conjunction with resources provided by their respective colleges to complete assignments, thus earning degrees.

Did you know that The Freestore Foodbank considers many Boone County residents to be food insecure, a term that translates to not knowing where you will get your next meal? This is a sobering but true fact of life for some of our most vulnerable neighbors, including a large number of children and seniors. Generous monetary contributions made by organizations including The Boone County Extension Homemakers (BCEH) and The Florence Woman’s Club (FWC) to the Freestore Foodbank Mobile Food Pantry have allowed us to distribute food to needy families. You may be asking yourself, “How can the Library do this?” Long story short, we can do this because we are your community partner who has a large number of dedicated, truly terrific volunteers who are willing to do anything to serve their community’s needs. For example, on July 10, volunteers from the BCES, the FWC, 7 Hills Church, St. Vincent de Paul and our own Teen Advisory Group (T.A.G.) distributed 10,000 pounds of food plus the contents of a box truck brimming with personal hygiene products to Boone County residents in need at a Freestore Foodbank Mobile Pantry distribution held in the parking lot of our Florence Branch Library. Including the event held on July 10, the Library has hosted 4 distributions serving 984 households totaling 2,163 people in 2013. With our July Jeans Day funds, the Library staff has set a goal of raising the $625 necessary to host a pantry visit that will serve 100 families, as we did last year.

Thank you for reading my post. Should you have any questions about adult Outreach, please call the Library or email me at msperling@bcpl.org.

 

–Melanie

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