Van allows library to deliver to folks in assisted living

       Two Westside assisted-living facilities (Village at Skyline and Brighton Gardens) are regular stops for the Pikes Peak Library District's new Lobby Stops van. Lobby Stops van driver Lisa Ward shows that even snowfall can’t prevent a rack of books from being lowered on the 
electronic lift, preparatory to being wheeled into one of the 15 assisted-living locales on her route – in this case the Village at Skyline on the Westside.
Westside Pioneer photo
       The customized Dodge Sprinter recently began transporting library materials to 15 such locations. Being on the road, it's like the Bookmobile, the district's popular rig which parks in different locations and allows people to walk in and make selections. The difference is that the van, funded by a $240,000 grant from the Colorado Trust's Healthy Aging Initiative, allows a library staffer to take books, DVDs, etc. into the lobby of assisted living locations.
       “It's so hard for some of them [in assisted living] to get up the steps into the Bookmobile,” said Lisa Ward, the van's driver and library staffer. “Now we're able to bring things in to them.” She also thinks the service will serve as a kind of spark to assisted-living residents' lives. “We're bringing them something to talk about, a change of pace, hopefully something that will foster conversation and friendships,” she said.
       In an inaugural demonstration last week at the Village at Skyline, Ward and other library staff showed how the van's three book carts can be detached from its rear area, lowered to the ground with an electronic lift, then wheeled into a facility's lobby. There, the residents can browse through the offerings or pick up items they or their activity directors ordered in advance.
       Another cart with generically popular materials is permanently attached inside the van, with Ward happy to saunter back in pursuit of on-the-spot requests.
       “The carts are stocked with large print and regular print fiction and nonfiction books, audiobooks, VHS and DVDs, CDs and magazines,” states a Library District press release. Another feature is that van staffers “can access patron records, the PPLD card catalog and databases and the Internet through their wireless Internet connection.”
       Although the van “looks kind of small,” it can hold more than 1,500 pieces in all, she said. By comparison, the larger of the two Bookmobiles holds about twice that.
       The Lobby Stops van goes to Brighton Gardens, 1685 S. 21st St., on the second and fourth Wednesday each month, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; and to Village at Skyline, 2365 Patriot Heights, the second and fourth Thursday from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
       Ward hopes to hear from residents and activity directors about the service and how they think it might serve them better. “We're getting feedback as we go,” she said.

Westside Pioneer article