There is a service at the Cherokee Public Library that does not always get a lot of publicity or attention although it is very important to those who take advantage of it. I am talking about shut in delivery.
For years we have been providing books and audio books to people who are not able to come to the library either because they can not physically walk in or they no longer drive. Sometimes we select the items and have them ready for family members or friends to pick up and at others we take them to the patron's home. All it takes is a phone call and we'll get the arrangements made.
Over the years I have met many wonderful people by providing this service. Most were at one time regular patrons who had to in later years rely on someone else to supply books or audios. I have had some heartwarming experiences and some interesting conversations.
One of the longest relationships I had was with a sweet lady named Rayma Collins. She and her husband Speck used to come in once a week to select their books. When he was no longer able to drive, I took things to their trailer and later when Rayma was alone, I delivered books to her apartment. She was always so glad to see me and I allowed extra time to sit and talk for awhile. Once when I was chatting about my dog, she said she really missed having a pet. After that I took Niki, my scottish terrier along with me, and the two of them became great friends. When Rayma moved to Kansas to be with family I continued to stay in touch until I received word that she had passed away. I would probably never have known Rayma if I hadn't worked at the library.
There have been other special people I have been privileged to be acquainted with through shut in delivery service. Florence Frisbie who was still a mystery reader at the age of 100+, Staver Hyndman who let me read his original B-17 logbook and Dorothy Griffith who was always such a positive person are just a few. So is Wilma Sawyer whose tragic death this week was the impetus for this column.
I will end with a quote from one of our current shut in patrons, Esther Erickson. One evening when I delivered a bag of books and set it on her dining room table, she said to me joyfully "This is just like Christmas!" I will always remember that moment and my best hope is that when I am not longer to get out and around on my own, someone from the library will make sure I experience the same feeling.
Please call 225-3498 if you know anyone who needs delivery service from the library.