The Helsinki City Library network is carrying out a ‘Summer reading to your door’ campaign in June, delivering library books to risk groups in the city. Helsinki Helpline volunteers will transport some of the ready-made book bags to the front doors of homebound residents, along with deliveries of food and medicine.
The City of Helsinki’s libraries have kick-started a campaign to supply at-home risk group members with books to read during the coronavirus crisis. First, a balanced selection of books that are in good condition but have been taken out of circulation are collected into a bag. This bag is then made available for pick-up or delivered to risk group members, such as seniors over the age of 70, who have signed up for the service.
The campaign puts safety first. Library staff use gloves while selecting and packing the books, and the bags are then sealed before they are made available. The selection of books in each bag is determined by what kinds of books have been withdrawn from the shelves of the participating libraries. Each bag contains three to five ‘surprise books’ that recipients can gift forward after reading, as there is no obligation to return them.
Helsinki libraries are making the summer reading available in two ways. Some of the book bags will be available for pickup at participating libraries located in the districts of Pasila, Kannelmäki, Malmi, Laajasalo and Pohjois-Haaga, as well as the Rikhardinkatu library in the city centre. The pick-up service begins on Monday, 8 June and will last for a month or so, or until the bags run out.
Starting on 10 June, book bags will also be delivered to the front doors of risk groups in the city, as part of Helsinki Helpline efforts to supply residents who are sheltering at home with food and medicine. Interested parties can inquire about book bag delivery via the Helsinki Helpline service by ringing tel. 09 310 85805 on weekdays between 12 pm and 3 pm. The book bags are free-of-charge for both pick-up and home delivery.
The Helsinki City Library seeks to promote reading among residents of all ages, even in the midst of exceptional circumstances. For example, as a new service this summer, the libraries in the Helsinki City Library network will be offering interactive remote reading sessions for customers of home care services. The sessions are part of the ‘Today at Home’ project that aims to provide elderly residents with opportunities to share in cultural activities via videophones. Helsinki libraries’ home service is also available once more, after a brief interruption. The service delivers library materials to Helsinki residents that cannot visit the libraries by their own means due to old age, an injury, disability or illness.
Photo: Paula Virta