Queens Library and the NYC Department of Education have teamed up to offer the new Mail-A-Book program, which delivers books, educational materials, and other library services to homebound Queens residents who are too sick to visit a library location.
Queens Library is expanding its educational outreach to local individuals who are temporarily or permanently homebound due to health issues. Through a partnership with the New York City Department of Education, the library’s new Mail-A-Book program offers services and materials to homebound children, teens, and adults to enhance their education and relieve social isolation. The program provides printed books, audio books, music, and movies in several languages through the mail, offering the same material that you would be able to get by walking into the library—and it’s all free of charge.
Currently, 225 students in Queens are enrolled in the Mail-A-Book program and receive home instruction. These homebound children receive one hour of education a day through the Department of Education, and the Mail-A-Book program seeks to supplement that. “We want to help and be accessible to children and teens regardless of their health concerns,” says Joanna King, the library’s director of communications. Teachers are encouraged to include material from the program in their lesson materials, and parents are welcome to request material for their own children.
Several programs are available to children and teens through Skype and teleconference. Children can interact with their peers while doing arts and crafts and engage in “picture book time.” Weekly audio pre-teen and teen chats will also be held to discuss books and sports as well as issues such as bullying. These peer discussions are meant to help kids develop a social circle outside their homes. Bingo materials, trivia games, and art programs will also be mailed to children interested in doing crafts together in groups with other homebound children.
The Mail-A-Book program also hopes to alleviate stress in the homes of homebound children. “I look at it as serving the family and not just the child,” says Madlyn Schneider, program coordinator, who adds that the program will soon expand to include more family-oriented services.
For more information or to register for the program, call 718-464-0084, email mailabook [at] queenslibrary.org, or visit queenslibrary.org/books/mail-a-book.