Some Libraries In Australia Are Calling Their Elderly Members During Lockdown To Check In

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 6 months since the global pandemic really began to make the headlines. We started to enter into lockdown in March, and suddenly, people found their worlds changed in ways that they never even thought possible. They may have even been cut off from certain essential services, but libraries in Australia had something to say about that subject.

Australia’s Yarra Plenty regional libraries felt the pinch of the coronavirus lockdown when those Melbourne libraries were shut down in March. The staff was sent home, but they weren’t left off the hook. They were sent with a phone and a project.

“One of the hardest things about lockdown was people being separated from their community,” Yarra Plenty’s executive manager of public participation, Lisa Dempster, told The Guardian. “The library is often a hub for the community, and we identified the most vulnerable cohort of our community would be the elderly.”

The library started to comb through the database of members to find everyone who was over 70 years of age. The work-issued phones were then used to contact those seniors and check up on them. All in all, some 8000 elderly members were contacted. The library staff was certainly busy and it seems as if they were making a 2nd round of calls.

“We called them to say hi, see how they were doing, and then see if there was anything they needed help with, such as access to services, counseling support, tech help, that kind of thing. We would then refer them to a service that would help them,” Dempster explained. “What we’ve found mostly is that people are really up for the chat and love getting that call from the librarian. Some calls go for five minutes and some go for half an hour or more.”

Twitter was absolutely overjoyed with the news.

As it turns out, the libraries in Australia are caring for their communities in a number of ways while the pandemic is ongoing. Another library was busy sending books to its members through the mail, and another included book deliveries with “Meals On Wheels.” Forgiveness of fines and digital offers were made possible to many during the pandemic.

Australia really has been at the forefront in this regard in showing sincere kindness to others. It’s going to take this type of kindness to get through the difficulties we are facing.

I love to write and it keeps me busy. I've been working online, full time since 1999.

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