Howard VLS Coordinator

Did you know that Peterborough Public Library has a Visiting Library Service (VLS)?

For those who are unable to visit the library in-person and have no one to assist them, we have a team of wonderful volunteer drivers who deliver once a month to qualifying patrons.

How does it work? Read on as we present a ‘day-in-the-life’ of the Visiting Library Service.

Howard looking at computerMy name is Howard, and I am the Visiting Library Service Coordinator. My job is to pick out titles for the VLS members, package them up and pass them on to the volunteer drivers to deliver.

Some of my clients are very ‘up-to-date’ in their reading and know exactly what they want, so my day begins with checking my email and answering machine, which are on duty 24/7 to capture all those 3 am brainwaves!

Usually VLS members have a general idea of what they like (Cozy Mysteries set in rural UK? Family Sagas in the American South?) and leave it to me to pick out some suitable reads. So our next stop is the stacks to do some shopping.

VLS computer in Library stacksI keep files on my computer of everybody’s likes & dislikes and which book comes next if they’re reading a series. Once I’ve picked the items it’s back down to the office to check them out and bag them up.

Each bag has a personalized tag with the number of books and the date we’re coming to pick up and bring the next delivery. There are no fees or late fines for the service; getting the books back on time is my job.

I now call everyone who’s getting a delivery the next day to check-up on how they’re doing with their books and make sure they’ll be home to meet their volunteer. If a client has another appointment, we work together to find a more convenient time.

Now for the fun part! Our volunteers stop off at the library to pick up the days’ deliveries. I try to keep members in the same neighbourhood on the same day to save on the driving.

Volunteer delivering off bagToday’s route starts out downtown at Empress Gardens & the St John’s Centre, then heads over to Cathedral Court on Brock St. and ends up at three different locations in the Monaghan Ave & Parkhill Rd. West area.

The volunteers bring the bags right to the front door and have a quick catch-up, then it’s back to the library to drop off everyone’s returns. Any messages are relayed to me and the staff at the returns desk pass along any notes left in the bags. Then I update everybody’s files and start the process again for the next delivery run!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this ‘behind-the-scenes peek’ into one of the lesser-known library services. If you, or someone you know may benefit from having books delivered, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Drop me a line at or give me a call at 705-745-5382 x2321 and we’ll see what we can do.