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Program sends books to those who can't visit
Book WEB 1
Julie Boyd holds up Christmas cards received from Mailbox Books clients last year. - photo by Autumn McBride

How to sign up

Visit any Forsyth County Public Library branch or call (770) 781-9840.

For those unable to leave home, the Forsyth County Public Library can come to them.

Through the Mailbox Books service, homebound patrons receive materials in the mail once a month that librarians select for them.

The program has had a steady number of users for more than a dozen years, but library employees are working to increase awareness of the service.

“It surprises me how many people don’t know about the program,” employee Julie Boyd said. “Then when they hear about it, their reaction is always positive. They are so grateful to learn about it.”

Library card holders who are homebound because of age, illness, visual impairment, disability or other reasons are able to sign up for the free program.

The application asks participants for their preferences, and then librarians select materials for users based on their likes.

Books, large print titles, CDs and DVDs are available through the service.

Staff member Rebecca Stuckey said she typically sends out between two and seven items to Mailbox Books users once a month.

Program participants then return their materials by prepaid mail with a feedback sheet about their likes and dislikes in the selections.

Though Stuckey rarely gets to meet her customers in person, she learns about them through their phone and mail correspondence.

“It’s fun to get to know them,” she said. “You just become very close to them.”

The Mailbox Books patrons also form connections with the librarians who work with the program.

Boyd held up several Christmas cards they’ve received as evidence of that.

The program provides other rewards for the librarians as well.

“It’s always satisfying to help people who can’t get out and make it here to select their own books,” Stuckey said. “I try to put myself in their shoes and think about what kind of selections I would like.”

Sometimes, Stuckey said she finds books for herself to check out that she wouldn’t have otherwise noticed.

Boyd said she most enjoys when she receives feedback that someone loved a book she chose.

The service is headquartered from the Cumming branch, but those interested in signing up themselves or someone they know can visit any of the three branches.

Cumming branch manager Ann Decherd is eager to add new members to the program.

“We know that there are people out there who can benefit from this service,” Decherd said. “It’s a great service. Especially if you’re homebound and you can only watch so much TV, it’s time to get something new to read or listen, or watch a DVD.”