A few weeks ago a photographer from the Independent on Sunday visited Hesters Way Library to take some pictures at the club for housebound library users. The club meets once a month, and gives library users who are usually housebound a chance to come to the library, to meet other people and socialize, and to pick out and discuss books.
Alistair Fisher has been caring for his wife Jean for over 30 years. Jean attends the Hesters Way Library housebound club, and Alistair helps out as a volunteer. He says;
I have met so many people at the housebound club who appreciate the chance to get-out of their homes to meet others and to get the quality of service available at the library, and help choosing books or a talking-book if they are blind. I like to make the tea and chat to the elderly ladies as well – it gives them a boost. It has opened my eyes to see what libraries do, and I think we all need to realise how important these places are.
My wife, who isn’t at all well, goes. It gets her out to chat with other women, and she is in an environment where she has got to know people. It gives me a break as well. They were thrilled when the Independent on Sunday sent a photographer and also loved to see themselves in the pictures on the computer monitor. I think a visit from Josephine Cox would really make their day though!
I have learnt a lot from the elderly about the libraries not closing in the war when they all struggled on. It is a great benefit and its very cruel what the Council are doing to these elderly people. They are stopping the Mobile Library and that is all wrong. These people have paid their price in life and we should respect them. It seems that it is all money and no respect in this world. My wife will be heart broken without her books and it is a must she gets them. I don’t want to have to leave this community to meet people she wont know. All the remaining libraries will be full up so she is on the shelf – it is sad.
Mark Hawthorne keeps telling us that his budget decisions are all about protecting the most vulnerable members of society. But what about people like the housebound club members, whose local library provides a vital source of companionship and is key to avoiding social isolation and improving quality of life?
NB. These photographs are the property of the Independent on Sunday and are used here with permission. They must not be reproduced elsewhere without prior permission.