Maura Lein was all smiles during last Wednesday’s bingo game as she spun the table-sized raffle drum, which released a small blue ball.
The Delaware County District Library’s associate would then call out the ball’s letter and number before adding some witty commentary into the mix. The 15 players placed their blue or red-colored chips on the bingo boards, while seated at the back of Creative Foundations, 57 N. Sandusky St., in downtown Delaware.
The adult day service for individuals with developmental disabilities receives monthly visits from the library’s Community & Family Outreach Services Department for bingo and trivia games.
“Pretty much, I like it,” said Betty Cline, 24.
She and her brother, Matthew Cline, 29, come out to Creative Foundations about five hours a day Monday through Friday and have participated in the library’s bingo and trivia games since last year.
“They also give prizes for us at Creative Foundations from the library,” Matthew said.
First-time winners get to choose from the stack of books, DVDs and CDs laid out on a table. Repeat winners get a sticker granting them another prize after the conclusion of the game.
But everybody that plays wins something, Lein said.
And speaking of winners, the library’s Outreach Services won the 2016 John Phillip Outreach Award from the Ohio Library Council for the first time. The OLC will host a luncheon during the 2016 OLC Convention & Expo to honor the award winners at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Sandusky Wednesday.
The award brings recognition to the department, which supports 17 different services to the community including programs for prison inmates, senior citizens, hospital patients and other residents who cannot use the library in a traditional way.
“The Delaware County District Library demonstrates true dedication to the philosophy of bringing library programs and services to all members of the community. The committee selected Delaware for their innovative approach to reaching prison inmates, seniors, hospital patients and young parents,” said Doug Evans, OLC’s executive director.
The award was named in honor of a consultant with the State Library of Ohio, who’s responsibilities included the State bookmobile program in Southern Ohio and its successor, Southeast Ohio Library Center. The first award was given out in 1995 after Phillip’s retirement.
Phillip died on Feb. 1, but he is remembered for his dedication to library outreach services, which are on the decline. There were 2000 bookmobiles in the 1960s that dropped to 615 bookmobiles in 2013, according to the American Library Association.
And Ohio had 52 bookmobiles in 2014, according to the Ohio Public Library Statistics.
“I feel like we’ve all worked hard to do a good job for the community,” said Robbie Apt, manager of the library’s outreach services.
Delaware library’s outreach services now has seven employees, one bookmobile, two vans and annual budget of about $35,000, Apt said.
The library started the bookmobile during the 1940s and in 2001 the library opted for a non-traditional bookmobile to provide easier access to patrons by unloading the carts full of library materials to bring them into facilities for isolated populations.
The bookmobile goes out five days a week to visit 26 day cares and 13 senior facilities during a three-week rotation.
“We’ve had a bookmobile for a very long time,” Apt said.
The department uses one of its vans for a variation of services per week day including homebound service, which delivers materials for 73 patrons once a month; refill 42 book baskets at urgent cares and hospitals; and deliver 74 “discovery bags,” filled with toys, music and educational books, to 29 in-home day care providers.
Other programs Outreach Services offers include story times; monthly deliveries of donated books to the county jail; and deliveries of holds, mail and other items between the library’s branches.
But in order to keep up with growth in Delaware County, the department looks to increase the staff size, replace its bookmobile and a van, and introduce “memory bags,” or activity kits, for senior living facilities such as nursing homes next year, Apt said.
“It’s exploded,” Lein said .
During the bingo game, Apt and Lein took turns as the caller, while the other went out and interacted with the players and verified if they had won.
Lein would often talk to some of the players about their prizes. She couldn’t suppress her enthusiasm when talking to Debbie Saylor about the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!-themed” book.
“We get to know a lot of the faces,” Lien said. “It’s all about community.”
Blake Summers, integration coordinator at Creative Foundations, said in prepared remarks that the day service enjoys having the library come in each month to do activities with its special needs individuals.
“Everyone gets such enjoyment out of each activity, especially bingo,” he said. “Because of this program a lot of our individuals find themselves going to the library even more to catch up on reading and renting videos and books.”
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.