Spartanburg County Public Library affords Homebound Companies
Evelyn Parks began her career at the Spartanburg County Public Library in 1975, working in the circulation department at the South Pine Street location. Forty-five years later, having worked in every department except technical services, Parks is still helping patrons find books to spark their imagination.
“I wanted to have connections with people and to figure out what people liked and why they enjoyed it,” Parks said.
She continues helping people today through her work with Homebound Services. The library provides a homebound service, led by Parks, for those who are unable to reach the library.
Deliveries of up to 25 items are made every four weeks by library staff or by trained volunteers. Following an interview process, interested patrons discuss their book interests, how many books they would like to receive each month, and any specific reading needs, such as audiobooks or large print books.
“I found out about the Homebound Service through Jane Floyd at the Spartanburg Housing Authority,” says shut-in Sheila Bowden. “I love Ms. Evelyn. I don’t have a lot of company come, and she is one beautiful face I get to see each month.”
The library will be accepting homemade Valentines through Feb. 5 to be donated to shut-ins along the Homebound Services route. Bowden points out two sweet Valentines displayed on her coffee table, “I’m so proud of them and kept them on my table ever since she gave them to me. That’s love,” she said.
“Homebound Services are a great fit for people such as caregivers who have all of the responsibility of taking care of someone, and they may not have the time to go out,” says Parks. Shut-ins, people who are suffering from a long-term illness, or people unable to drive are all people who could benefit from these services.
Some begin this process knowing exactly the kind of library materials they want. Others don’t and simply give their reading interests, and Parks will then pick out what she thinks they may like.
The route runs in the city limits as well as rural areas; from Woodruff to Landrum. Pre-COVID-19, volunteers would assist in delivering books and library materials along the route. But following COVID, the library was unable to safely allow so many volunteers to assist with the driving route. Therefore, Parks, with the help of part-time employee Jillian Gelders, deliver all the library materials themselves.
There are several additional contact-less ways to take advantage of the services of the library. OverDrive or the Libby app is a digital option. OverDrive is a digital library collection of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and streaming videos that is accessible through the library’s website or through the Libby app.
For library card holders who prefer not to read from a device but from a book, the library is offering a Curbside Holds Pick-Up Service, and will bring out your requested holds materials to your vehicle.
“This is offered to all of our patrons with active library cards with holds being held,” says Christina Calitre, director of Circulation Services.
Donna Bryant of Spartanburg enjoys the movies and audiobooks provided by the Homebound Services. Bryant is legally blind and unable to see the small print of books. She says the materials provided open up a whole new world to her.
“You can’t see it under the mask, but I’m grinning from ear to ear,” says Bryant.
A lot about the library has changed since Parks began her career in 1975. Location, librarians, the types of services offered. But one aspect of her job has remained the same. Her dedication to finding out what types of books will make the readers curl up on their couch and lose themselves for a few hours in a good book.
“I have concluded that Evelyn’s work is not work, but rather a calling. Evelyn has been called into a life of service, and she has used this calling to create relationships with all walks of life,” says Todd Stephens, County Librarian. “Her 45 years of service is one third of our 135-year history. It is impressive to reflect on the many lives that Evelyn has touched. In short, she is an amazing woman.”
Those interested in these services can visit http://www.infodepot.org/Using-the-Library/Homebound to complete the application.
General Library Information:
- All locations will offer express internet services and free printing.
- The SparkSpace makerspace at Headquarters Library will open Aug. 3 by appointment only. If you wish to make an appointment, call Information Services at 864-596-3505.
- Notary services have resumed where available.
- Patrons are asked to practice social distancing. Masks are encouraged as it may help reduce the spread of COVID.
- The library is no longer charging late fees for overdue items. All items should be returned by the due date. A replacement fee will be charged to your account for any item not returned within two weeks of the due date.
- Returned items are quarantined for 72 hours and it may take up to 5 days before items are checked in.
- Bookpage Magazine is offering issues available online for free.