Work Questions: Housebound or Home Delivery Service

Morning all,

I’m thinking of sending this questionnaire to my library managers to help with a housebound review I’m conducting.  What do you think of the following questions? Have I missed anything? Does your library do anything different? Innovative? Is there something you wished your library did that it doesn’t do?


Please let me know!


I’ve been quiet on reporting on the housebound front because I’ve been mulling over issues, especially after attending the Community Engagement training last month. I believe instead of organising the sort of service we want to give, we should arrange a series of meetings with housebound customers and ask what they want from us. At present we provide staff- or volunteer-selected books, audio books and DVDs on a regulated, rostered basis. Is that what they want from us?


Before going ahead with that, I’d like to ask, what are WE prepared to offer them? Could the Library Management Team please think on the following areas and let me know which options we do NOT want to pursue …



The image of the traditional housebound customer is a frail elderly luddite who would prefer someone to work “that danged computer” for them.  I respectfully submit that this is a very low percentage of our potential customer base.

·         Do we want to advertise in hospitals to provide a short-term service for those recovering from surgery?

·         Do we want to offer our services to anyone who requires in-house nursing, respite or carer assistance? Including children?

·         Do we want to provide a level of support and delivery to remote customers (those who live more than 30 minutes drive to a library branch)?

·         Do we want to open up a tier of service (possibly with a nominal payment) for those who would simply prefer home delivery (ala the supermarket home delivery services)?



We currently provide staff or volunteer chosen books, LP books, audio and DVDs.

·         Do we want include these customers on standing magazine reservations?

·         Do we want to teach those customers interested in how to select and reserve their own materials?

·         Are there any materials or stock we don’t want to send out to housebound or home delivery customers?

·         Do we want to invest in technology such as Audio-Read’s Navigator for our print-challenged customers?

·         Do we want to send out flyers/informational brochures extolling the changes/improvements to our websites? Allow them use to and understanding of databases, tumblr etc accessible via our library website?

·         Do we want to provide information on audio download and eBook download when these services become available?

·         What other information or services could we supply from the library or from City of Swan with their items?

·         Is there anything that we charge other Council departments to include in our deliveries (thereby offsetting some costs)?



Under the present system the housebound customer usually contacts us and the local branch asks them a series of predetermined questions to determine their likes and dislikes. This information is stored somewhere for staff and volunteers at that branch to use to select items from.

·         Do we want to start visiting these customers for face-to-face meetings to discuss their needs? Should the person who has initial contact be a readers’ advisory expert to best gauge their preferences?

·         Should we include a feedback slip in every item so they can advise us in our selection?

·         For those who possess the technology (PC, smartphone, iPad, laptop etc) should we go out one-on-one and teach them how to use the library catalogue to place their own reservations? Should we teach these same customers how to use NoveList or other databases so they can feel empowered to select their own materials?



At present items are mostly delivered on a standard periodic basis via staff or volunteer at each library branch.

·         Do we want to continue doing this?

·         Do we want to centralise and run all home delivery or housebound from one library?

·         Do we want to enter into an official contact with a volunteer organisation for them to provide regular, reliable volunteers to supply and collect the items?

·         Do we want to offer staff the option of changing their position descriptions to allow them to spend time each week supplying and collecting the items on a regular rostered basis?

·         Do we want to purchase a vehicle for a library staff member to use to supply and collect the items on a regular rostered basis?

·         Rather than using the standard library bags (or shopping bags) do we want to invest in courier satchels whereby we post out the items and the customer or one of their visitors returns the satchel to their local Post Office to be delivered back to us? (We enter into an arrangement with Australia Post to pay a monthly fee for this service) This would be more like Netflix, whereby we send out the next batch when the first batch is returned. This is more flexible as it doesn’t rely on rostered regular deliveries.



·         If the community want these options, which are prepared to provide?

·         Or to put it another way, which of these options are outside the realm of what we are prepared to fight for?




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