By Eleanor Wilson
After two years of service and 21,801 deliveries, Casey Cardinia Libraries is ending its home delivery service.
As Victorians return to “normal” life and Victoria transitions out of a state of emergency, the library announced it will take its last home delivery on Thursday 23 June.
The service used community donations to give members access to library collections in their own homes throughout Melbourne’s series of Covid lockdowns.
Over $19,000 in cash and EFTPOS donations was collected over the two years to facilitate free shipping of library books, CDs, magazines and DVDs to homes throughout the municipalities.
Casey Cardinia Libraries chief executive officer Beth Luppino said many considered the service a “lifeline” during lockdown.
“Social isolation, anxiety and loneliness was common throughout the pandemic – and many people continue to be affected,” she said,
“The provision of free library collections to our community has always been critical, and access to public library services is a fundamental building block of our society.
“To be able to provide free home deliveries of library collections over the years affected by lockdowns was a way to practically address the loneliness and isolation.”
For children, already experiencing significant disruption in their learning journey, the service fostered literacy development along with fun, entertainment, and an opportunity to connect with their families about what they were reading, Ms Luppino said.
She added the library was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community and felt grateful locals recognised the value of libraries.
“Without their support, delivery charges would not have remained free – and this would mean that not everyone could have accessed it.
“Through the generosity of our donors, the service has remained free for all, including our most vulnerable members.”
Recognising the importance of access to digital information, the library was also able to add laptops and computers to the free home delivery service.
“Like the rest of our library collections, the laptops and computers enabled people isolated at home to connect to the world digitally,” Ms Luppino said.