By Tracy Ihnot
Reading can enhance and transform lives. It offers people pathways to achieve personal goals, opportunities to get lost in stories, avenues to gain knowledge, and ways to engage the mind through the passing of time.
Just as learning to read is an important milestone in the lives of young children, having access to books is an important component of a healthy and happy lifestyle for many seniors.
Staff members at Delta County Libraries take special consideration to reach patrons of all ages and abilities with library services.
“We realize that not all of our patrons can physically get to the library,” says Bonnie Bishop, senior librarian in Delta. “So we bring the library to them.”
Every other week, Bishop loads her car with boxes and crates full of books and audiobooks and sets up temporary libraries at Heaven’s View Apartments and Crossroads Senior Living in Delta.
“I love this part of my job,” Bishop says as she unloads the books and spreads them across the table for residents to browse and check out. “Many of the people I see during these visits used to come into the library. It is so rewarding to be able to continue serving them here.”
The residents at both locations reflect Bishop’s sentiment. “Bonnie is amazing,” says a resident of Heaven’s View. “Make sure you put that in your article!”
Bishop knows her patrons by name, she knows their reading preferences, and she takes special requests for their desired items.
“Bonnie really cares about the people she takes books to,” says Adriana Chavira, Delta Library manager. “And they are grateful for her and look forward to her visits.”
While at Crossroads, Bishop reflects on a long-time patron who is over 100 years old. “I realize that someday I’m going to come and she won’t be here,” says Bishop, tears in her eyes. “That’s a really hard day to think about. I value every single time I am able to put a book in her hand.”
After spending all morning bringing joy to people by delivering a needed service with a personal touch, Bishop is ready to head back to Delta Library, where she will do more of the same. She packs up the boxes and crates and receives a fond farewell on her way out the door.
“See you in two weeks!” she promises. Already, Bishop is thinking about what she will bring with her next time, giving people something special to look forward to during the last chapters of life.
For more information about library services and programs, visit deltalibraries.org.