PELHAM – The library and senior center are partnering in a novel way to keep seniors involved in their community.
At least twice a month, adult services librarian Annie Seiler is delivering current best-sellers and recently released movies to the center, where seniors can sign up for library cards and borrow the materials.
A return box left at the center means seniors don’t even have to find their way to the library later.
“This is a really good program,” senior center director Sara Landry said. “It seems like the seniors are very excited about it.”
About 40 to 50 seniors regularly attend the center. Seiler said they flock to the tables when she puts out the books and movies.
Many have library cards, but some don’t. They don’t even have a chance to go to the library because of a lack of transportation.
Seiler said seven seniors have signed up for cards during the first two sessions.
She spends an hour at the center on each visit.
“I bring all large-print books, a lot of our new releases, so people can get the latest books,” Seiler said.
She also brings a few movies she thinks the seniors might enjoy or want to watch with their grandchildren.
Sometimes the seniors defy expectations.
A copy of the Academy Award-winning “The King’s Speech” was packed away for return to the library, while the seniors snatched up “The Hunger Games,” popular with teens.
“‘The Hunger Games’ went out very quickly,” Seiler said.
The program – “Library Hour at the Senior Center” – grew out of a brainstorming session between Landry and library director Corrine Chronopoulos about engaging seniors with community services.
A concern was that seniors might like to use their library, but aren’t always able to get there. Or, if they do have transportation, they might find walking from the parking lot into the library a challenge.
But, if the library came to them, those obstacles would be overcome.
“It’s just easy to bring them a small selection,” Seiler said.
She typically brings 30 books, plus a few DVDs. The return box means the seniors don’t have to worry about a book being overdue.
“If you can make it one stop for them, that makes it a lot easier,” Landry said.
Landry and Seiler are unaware of any similar collaboration in New Hampshire between a public library and senior services.
Liette Goyette was borrowing “Grace,” a novel by Richard Paul Evans.
She told Seiler she likes his books.
“I’ll try to bring more of his next time,” Seiler told her.
Goyette is delighted with the new arrangement.
“I thought this was great,” she said. “They have a very good selection of books and they are all large print, which is perfect for us.”
Her husband, Don, is a retired librarian, who worked for several years at the town library.
“This is an excellent program.,” Don Goyette said. “The Pelham Library is so good now, this is a logical step forward for them.”
Mary Fike signed up for a library card the first week the library came to the center.
“I’m a reader,” she said. “I’ve got two books going at the same time.”
One was a James Patterson novel.
“They have all my favorite authors,” Fike said of the selection. “For someone like me, this gives me an opportunity to come here and get some books, some new ones.”
She doesn’t have a car of her own, which makes getting to the library difficult.
“I don’t have transportation,” Fike said. “My daughter takes me shopping.”
Landry and Seiler expect the new program will remain popular with seniors.
“I don’t see stopping it,” Seiler said.
“Not as long as it is being utilized,” Landry said.