Brumback Library
Brumback Library
Information courtesy of Brumback Library

VAN WERT — One of the Brumback Library’s most popular and most utilized services is its homebound delivery program to residents of area nursing homes, personal care facilities or to those who are physically unable to visit the library. This vital service is currently meeting the needs of over 362 patrons.

The homebound library service began in 1957 when Gertrude Williams pioneered such efforts locally. Williams delivered books, magazines, and, in time, books-on-tape to many patrons.

Prior to her retirement in 1986, she trained librarian Julie Thomas-Kuhlhorst who expanded the patron base to 72 individuals. From 1992 onward, service to more than 300 people became the norm.

Books, magazines, videotapes, DVDs, books-on-tape, CDs, Ebooks, and assistance with Kindles, Nooks, iPhones, laptops, and wireless systems offered readers access to a myriad of titles, series and other informative resources. Increased budgetary allocations allowed the library to form a larger collection of these print and nonprint resources, thus enabling Thomas-Kuhlhorst to meet her patrons’ many requests.

Before the State imposed so many cuts and freezes to Ohio’s 251 public libraries, Thomas-Kuhlhorst also had more time to pull, arrange, and deliver items in an efficient and effective manner. With her costumes and deliveries in hand, Thomas-Kuhlhorst served a few more patrons every year. She was also assisted by such volunteers as Bob and Eloise King, Librarian Joyce Harrow, Convoy Branch Librarian Cindy Money, and several others whose goal, like Thomas-Kuhlhorst’s, was to meet the informational, recreational, and reference needs of those who were interested in the homebound program.

After 30 years of dedicated service, Thomas-Kuhlhorst retired in December.

Prior to her leaving, however, Thomas-Kuhlhorst trained Library Clerk Karen Hoverman to carry on the program. The two staff members visited area nursing homes and personal residences, as well as Homestead Village and a number of other places to introduce and acquaint patrons and staff alike at these facilities with her replacement.

Hoverman is excited to start this newest chapter in the life of the library’s homebound delivery service.

The Brumback Library is thankful for Thomas-Kuhlhorst’s service as well as Hoverman’s call to her newest position.

On a final note, we would like to emphasize that this treasured service will not only continue to exist and continue to deliver to the loyal homebound patrons, but the library is looking forward to meeting the needs of others who may benefit from such a program.

The Brumback Library is also pleased to announce that the 60th anniversary of the Homebound Service Program will be celebrated in April during National Library Week .