Library program reaches out to homebound patrons

The Kitsap Regional Library has books and will travel.

The library’s Homebound Patron and outreach Program delivers books and other library materials to patrons who are unable to visit the library as well as supplying materials to other sites in the county.

For Port Orchard resident Lydia Simonson, who will be 102 years old in January, the program makes it possible for her to enjoy mysteries, non-fiction and biographies she has loved all of her life but might not otherwise be able to obtain.

Unable to make trips to the library due to her eyesight, Simonson she can still enjoy listening to the materials the library supplies her with.

“I like JA Jance out of Seattle and other mysteries like Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Monk,” Simonson said.

A retired elementary school teacher for the South Kitsap School District, Simonson said the materials help her to continue to learn about the world and enjoy her lifelong passion for reading.

“People should always keep learning.” She said. “To me reading has always been important. I think I read everything that was available in the small library where I grew up in Eureka South Dakota, and I have never stopped.”

Simonson said she has travelled to every continent except Antarctica and has seen many major changes in the world such as the proliferation of electricity and the automobile. She said that, although she cannot travel like she once did, the library materials help her stay informed and connected to the world.

Bonnie McKernan, an outreach specialist with the library, visits Simonson once a month and brings her books on tape and CD.

She said she enjoys her visits with Simonson as well as her other patrons.

“Well, I get to meet the best people in the county,” she said. “I have met some wonderful people through the years and it enriches me as well as them.”

The listening materials are enjoyable, Simonson said, but she also looks forward to spending time with McKernan.

“I enjoy her visits,” Simonson said. “We talk about news and politics in general and the books that she has brought me. It is a real nice homey visit.”

McKernan said she sees about 100 patrons a month, some of whom would not have other visitors for an extended period of time.

“There are many people who don’t see people for weeks on end,” she said. “They don’t need care and they don’t have family. Some people will have a care giver, but is not necessarily a person they can talk to about books.”

The outreach program also delivers books to 23 facilities in the county as well as paperbacks to the Kitsap County jail and Work Release Program.

Applications for the program are available at library branches, by computer download at the KLR website or by calling 360-405-9123.

Simonson said the program made a positive difference in her life and she hoped others would take advantage of it.

“It is a very appreciated service, and I would surely hate to do without it,” she said.


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