February 1, 2021

Toronto Area Libraries Reach Out to Pandemic Isolated Seniors Through Library Cards

Who touches every household during the pandemic and knows where seniors live? Canada Post still goes door to door in many areas, and knows whether mail is being picked up or not.

But libraries in the metro Toronto area went one step further during the pandemic when their public areas were closed down.

They called their senior library card holders-who number over 20,000-to ask how they were doing.

Starting last summer, twenty staff members made a list of their clients between the ages of 80 to 100 years and  have made calls to 10,000 individuals. That was so effective,  library staff are now calling the next cohort, those aged between 70 and 79.

The library staff ask how the senior is doing, and also lets them know what library services are available to them during Ontario’s lockdowns, and how they can continue to access reading materials. The staff explain how the curbside pickup service works, and also how ebooks can be borrowed. There is also a delivery service for those who are immobile.

Each call takes about ten minutes of staff time.

As written by Emanuela Vega in The Star, librarian Emoke Gall stated “People are really surprised when we call them, that it’s not a call that we’re selling anything or asking anything of them, We’re literally just checking in to see how they’re doing.”

Here is a YouTube video from CityNews describing the service.


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