Super Readers

Super Readers

When I started my position as Public Services Librarian in Gering, the person I replaced left me a note about two of my new patrons. The note said they would read 14 books every two weeks. These ladies were what I think of as Super Readers. They were also homebound, which means they didn't get out of their homes often.

One of the duties of the Public Services Librarian is to coordinate the Homebound program. This means I select books for people who can't come into the library. I also organize volunteers to deliver the books to these folks. I have to keep track of what they have read, and keep watching for new books and authors that might interest them.

These two women each read 14 books every two weeks. The math on that is pretty simple, they were each reading over 350 books a year (they would request fewer books near holidays). Part of my new job was to keep delivering fresh books to them. That became difficult because these women had a narrow interest in books.

I did what I could to find books they might have not read, but it was a challenge. I am an avid reader, but I haven't read all the books we have. I use the internet to find what we call read-alikes. These are books that are similar to other books. By searching the library shelves and asking other readers, I was able to keep these women in books for a few years.

I was relieved when one of them asked to re-read all of Danielle Steel's books. Steel writes around six books a year. The Gering Library has 117 different books by Steel, so that helped me for a few weeks.

If you know someone who might like to have library books delivered to their home, please let me know. We have them fill out a short application about their reading tastes, then we can start delivering books. Some of our Homebound folks have us select books for a relative to deliver. Either way works for us. The Gering Public Library delivers to Gering and Terrytown. If you live in Scottsbluff, their library has a similar program and they will be happy to sign you up.

One of my Homebound volunteers said, "I am always amazed at how appreciative the people on my route are. Homebound is such a neat service. Delivering library books to these people provides them an opportunity to read when they don't have much else they can do."

Our two super readers have both passed away, but our records show that one of them read 1,763 books over about five years. She slowed down the last couple of years. What an amazing number of books to have read!