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Book bus brings culture to seniors in Katowice

Free book deliveries from the city library to the elderly and the disabled

  • August 15, 2020 15:00
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
Medium book bus katowice
Source: City of Katowice

A book bus will be delivering books to the senior and disabled citizens of Katowice, informed the Polish city administration. The new service inaugurated last week by Mayor Marcin Krupa responds to the downward trend of library book lending, caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Katowice Silver Book for Seniors (or Książkobus in Polish) wants to keep citizens from vulnerable groups connected to cultural life, while also maintaining social distancing.

A good read can work miracles for loneliness

Due to Covid-19, the access to culture has been significantly limited - in particular for the elderly, the disabled and the infirm, it was emphasized by Mayor Krupa. In the first half of this year, the number of borrowings from the city library dropped by 40% in comparison to the same period in 2019.

This is what motivated the authorities to launch the book bus and make the service as simple to use as ordering food. Residents over 65 and disabled people will be able to order a book or an audiobook from the library and have it delivered to their home and then taken back after it has been read. All of this will be free of charge.

Orders are accepted over the phone or by email by mentioning the name of the library branch that the user is a member of. Readers can request concrete titles or simply share their preferences and receive a recommendation. Up to five books can be borrowed at the same time with a 30 day period to return.

In order to make the service possible, Katowice purchased and branded a coach bus for a total of PLN 42 000 (9500 euro). An employee of the library will be driving the bus and delivering the books, wearing a visor, protective gloves and using disinfection fluid. In order to prevent the risk from coronavirus transmission, the returned books will be “quarantined” for several days.

Małgorzata Moryń-Trzęsimiech, head of the social policy department in the Katowice City Hall explained the importance of this project for the residents. She said that many seniors in Katowice do not have Internet and often live alone.

The only entertainment for them during a pandemic is the TV or the radio. The opportunity to read any book of their choice is therefore essential for many retirees or disabled people. Moryń-Trzęsimiech also pointed out that during the introduced lockdown many people used the existing "shopping emergency" or psychological support help services.

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