Georgetown Library offers delivery of books, puzzles and more

Georgetown Public Library staff member Kalena Powell searches for a patron’s package April 9, the first day of the library's home delivery service. The library has had to innovate to continue serving its patrons in wake of the global pandemic. (Courtesy Joyce May)
Georgetown Public Library staff member Kalena Powell searches for a patron’s package April 9, the first day of the library's home delivery service. The library has had to innovate to continue serving its patrons in wake of the global pandemic. (Courtesy Joyce May)

Georgetown Public Library staff member Kalena Powell searches for a patron’s package April 9, the first day of the library's home delivery service. The library has had to innovate to continue serving its patrons in wake of the global pandemic. (Courtesy Joyce May)

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Georgetown Public Library staff member Kalena Powell draws delivery zones on a city map April 7 as the organization prepared to launch its home delivery service. (Courtesy Joyce May)
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Georgetown Public Library staff member Kalena Powell drops off books on a patron’s doorstep April 9, the first day of the home delivery service. The library has had to innovate to continue serving its patrons in wake of the global pandemic. (Courtesy Joyce May)
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Georgetown Public Library launched home delivery service April 9. Teen Services Librarian Melissa Mote and staff member Kalena Powell check the route to their next location on the first day of delivery. The library has been closed to the public since March 16, but staff have remained busy as the organization has innovated ways to continue serving its patrons. (Courtesy Joyce May)
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Teen Services Librarian Melissa Mote and staff member Kalena Powell coordinate before heading out on the first run for Georgetown Public Library’s home delivery service April 9. The library has been closed to the public since March 16, but staff have remained busy as the organization has innovated ways to continue serving its patrons. (Courtesy Joyce May)
In an effort to keep patrons entertained while self-isolated, the Georgetown Public Library is coming through for city residents with a home delivery service.

With the Williamson County “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in effect until at least April 30, Library Director Eric Lashley said the library still wanted to continue to serve its patrons even though it is closed to the public.

It was only serendipitous that a book delivery van purchased by Friends of the Georgetown Public Library for library delivery services to home-bound patrons was gifted right before the closing of the city. The library decided to expand on the van’s original purpose and serve all city residents.

The library is offering checkout of books, puzzles, audio books, DVDs and CDs, Lashley said. The delivery service began April 9, he said.

“We are so fortunate to have the volunteers and the Friends [of GPL] that have put us in a position that we could actually do this,” Lashley said.


How it works

The library delivers and picks up books on certain days based on ZIP codes. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the library tackles 78633; on Thursdays, it tackles 78626; and on Fridays, it tackles 78328, Lashley said.

Lashley said patrons can select books online using their library cards. The library then collects the books, systematically organizes them based on the fastest delivery routes and contacts patrons with when the book will be delivered. Books are left on porches wrapped in plastic and again in paper. Delivery workers are wearing masks and gloves to ensure sanitation, Lashley said.

Returned books are isolated for 72 hours before being placed back into rotation, Lashley said. He added that items are typically checked out for three weeks at a time but at this point it is relaxed.

The library is currently using the van as well as a Visitor’s Bureau van and two other vehicles from the city’s vehicles services department to complete all of the deliveries, he said.

He added that the library is delivering to about 75 homes a day.

“We just want people to read the books or get materials,” he said. “It's pretty complex, but it works great.”

Lashley said once the stay-at-home order is lifted, the library will go back to using the delivery system only for residents who are housebound. At that point, the library will resume use of its curbside system for other patrons.

“The great thing about books is you have to use your imagination. It is an escape from watching TV,” Lashley said. “Books are an escape. You can travel now, travel around the world by reading a book, ... and we need an escape right now from what's happening with the pandemic.”