Fife library staff offer lifeline contact during lockdown

80 sign up for new project

As part of its #ShineOnFife campaign, ONFife – which runs the regions libraries, theatres and museums – has been tapping into its staff's knowledge of local communities to reach out and connect with many vulnerable people.

Over 80 have signed up to make the calls, and the organisation aims to get in touch with 2500 vulnerable library users.

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Many of the staff know their regulars who use libraries for social contact, while the home delivery team also offered a social lifeline.

With the buildings closed during the coronavirus lockdown, the new project aims to keep those links open.

It involves phoning customers to reassure them about services and, just as importantly, have a chat and see if they would like to receive regular calls.

So far more than 80 staff have volunteered to make the calls and the project is looking to be calling more 2500 vulnerable readers.

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Calls started going out to home delivery customers first, and the response was overwhelmingly positive, with most delighted to hear from the team and looking forward to their next chat.

A couple have even taken up the offer of getting help over the phone to access ONFife's RB Digital, which allows free access to digital books, magazines and audio books.

The delight at hearing from the team was epitomised by the reader who is only seeing her granddaughter once a week as she hands the shopping through the window and said it was lovely to hear another voice.

“I've never been prouder of the library team,” said June Souter, ONFife’s Libraries service development manager.

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“Libraries have always been safe spaces where the vulnerable and lonely would be welcomed. Our building doors may be closed but the heart of the library is its people and we are delighted that our staff can still connect with our readers to be a friendly voice, a listening ear and a signpost to other community resources.”

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