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Can't get to a library? Our volunteers will bring the books to you

Published: 19 November 2018
  • Retirement village resident Patricia with Louise.

This month, Our Auckland is meeting some of the people who work ‘behind the scenes’ to make Tāmaki Makaurau a great place to live.

We chat to Gill Clive, a Homebound Service Coordinator, who delivers library services to Aucklanders who are no longer able to travel to a physical library.  

Among her many jobs, Gill coordinates a team of 80 volunteers across Auckland who each serve two or three homebound customers, personally choosing and delivering books.

“We have amazing volunteers who are rapidly growing in number and truly go above and beyond. The other month, one of my volunteers discovered a customer had been taken into hospital, so drove all the way in to bring the books to her bedside!” says Gill.

Gill also runs mobile pop-up libraries at various retirement facilities, delivering hampers of special hand-picked book collections – mainly large print and audio books. While there, she takes book requests and gives a helping hand for using our libraries’ digital services like downloading eBooks.

One of Gill’s favourite memories is discovering that two of her regulars at a pop-up library were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. She whipped up a cake in the shape of an open book and dropped it off at the retirement village – and the next time she saw them they gave her a card with a cake.

“There were no dry eyes for me that day!” she jokes.

Bringing books to Aucklanders (3)
Gill and volunteer Louise.

Outright calling it “the best job in Auckland”, Gill says she feels enormously lucky to be in a role that contributes so much to people.  

“The majority of customers have been avid readers for most of their lives. I feel very privileged to be able to connect with them, especially anyone who might be isolated or feeling lonely, and keep providing the joy that books bring.”  

“Every visit gives me the opportunity to make someone’s day. I just want Aucklanders to know there is a library service for everyone.”