Free Library receives $200,000 grant from City to expand to homebound services

Alicia Colombo

The Central Senior Services division of the Free Library of Philadelphia, located in the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine St., First Floor West, administers the library’s Homebound Services. The program delivers books, movies, music and other materials to older Philadelphians who, due to illness or disability, cannot visit a neighborhood library.

For many years, the Homebound Services program has been run as a partnership between the Free Library of Philadelphia and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which delivers materials to individuals who are homebound and returns them to the library. In recent years, the wait time to receive materials has increased significantly due to financial constraints within the USPS. These shipping delays have impacted the library’s ability to adequately serve Philadelphia’s older adults who are homebound.

To resolve this issue, the Free Library- applied for – and has been awarded – a $200,000 grant from the Mayor’s Innovation Fund to re-invent the Homebound Services program. The funding will allow the Free Library to purchase a dedicated delivery vehicle and to hire two part-time drivers/community outreach staff members.

“For the first time in the history of this program, we will be able to deliver material to our own clients and significantly reduce the time that patrons have to wait to receive their books, movies, music and other items,” said Richard “Dick” Levinson, librarian at Parkway Central Library. “We are very excited about this huge step forward. We can increase the number of homebound Philadelphians we serve by as much as 40%.”

The library plans to launch delivery of Homebound Services in the spring. Updates will be published in Milestones newspaper and on pcaCares.org. For more information about the Free Library’s Homebound Services, call 215-686-5411 or go to FreeLibrary.org/locations/parkway-central-library.

Categories: Education Milestones eNews