WDM Library Offers Invaluable Service to Homebound and Elderly Residents

Two of our most regularly used programs at the West Des Moines Public Library are the Senior Outreach and Homebound Delivery services. These programs were created to give WDM residents who have difficulty coming into the library access to library materials, no matter their living situation.

The Homebound Delivery service has been around for over twenty years and has been utilized by hundreds of patrons. In 2020, library staff and volunteers selected and delivered materials monthly to an average of 50 patrons in individual homes. 

For our Senior Outreach program, the library partners with local elder care facilities to provide 14 different browsable library collections to provide access for its residents. These care facilities include:

  • Arbor Springs
  • Bickford Cottage
  • Cedar Ridge Village
  • Crestview Terrace (new addition!)
  • Edgewater
  • Fairmeadows Village
  • Manorcare
  • Pine Acres
  • Valley West Apartments
  • Wesley Acres
  • Western Village

This service has allowed over 1,300 WDM residents to browse for their own library materials from the comfort of their senior living community.

Betsy Richter, the current facilitator of both programs, recognizes the critical need for the programs in the West Des Moines community.

“Studies confirm that reading helps maintain vital brain function and slow cognitive decline,” said Betsy. “Providing reading material to seniors in their homes, senior living communities and care facilities allows patrons to work their brains and keep them young.”

The rotating senior living collections contain 75 items per care facility including large print best sellers, audio books, DVDs, Playaways and other materials. This collection is funded by the WDM Public Library Friends Foundation.

“With the support of our generous WDM Library Friends Foundation donors, we would like to see these services continue to expand,” said Jean Fajen, President of the WDM Library Friends Foundation. “This program is so vitally important to the community.”

Betsy delivers the homebound and elder care facility books in a WDM Public Library van that you might have seen traipsing around town. She herself transports an average of 60 deliveries each month.  She is gauging the comfortability of each homebound patron on starting up volunteer deliveries again.

“These programs create such a wonderful sense of community,” said Betsy. “The homebound delivery service, especially, gives many elderly residents another person in their friendship circle.”

Our regular patrons who utilize these programs are overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to still experience the benefits of the library even if they can’t make it into the physical building.

“I have always felt very fortunate that the library offers the homebound service, but this past year and a half when I have been recovering from two surgeries it has been a huge blessing as I am able not only to continue reading my favorite books, but try new things such as learning foreign languages,” said Kathi, a longtime patron of the library. “It has been a blessing in that I am able to keep learning and engaging in knowledge.”

Getting a patron signed up to participate in the Homebound program is simple. Interested participants should fill out our Request Homebound Delivery form located on the WDM Library website at: https://www.wdmlibrary.org/services/outreach/homebound

Senior Care Outreach Collections available at the facilities named above require less documentation than our regular collection. Here are the stipulations:

  • No WDM Library card needed. 
  • Choose Large Print Best Sellers, DVDs, Audiobooks, and Playaways.
  • Use these items at your leisure (a day, week, month, or longer).

Betsy Richter would be happy to answer any questions that patrons might have about either program. You can reach her by phone at 515-222-3574 or by email at Elizabeth.Richter@wdm.iowa.gov.


Posted on July 06, 2021