Extension services serves patrons beyond library walls

Craig Cheney knocks on the door and opens it a crack, announcing his presence.

“Norma, it’s Craig,” he calls.

After hearing his welcome he walks in and is greeted warmly by Norma Wisoleek, an elderly library patron that is unable to leave her home, whom Cheney brings 10 books about every two weeks through Elkhart Public Library’s homebound program.

The homebound program is one of the offerings of EPL’s Extension Services, which brings the library and its items to outside locations through stops at retirement communities, daycares or to patrons that cannot leave their home, such as Wisleek.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Wisoleek, who has been participating in the program for around three years.

Wisoleek, who can read over 20 books a month, in large print format, said she especially likes Danielle Steele but will read just about anything Cheney brings.

“He brings me anything and most all of them I like,” she said. “If he brings a good book, I can read it in a day.”

Patrons enrolled in the homebound service are eligible for visits on a regular basis and one of EPL’s Extension Services librarians will stop by and bring several books for the patron to read.

Cheney said that the visits are his favorite part because of the relationships that get built.

“They don’t have a lot of people around, so the visits are pleasant,” he said. “I like connecting them to the library.”

Cheney said that Wisoleek is a prolific reader and he enjoys chatting with her during his stops there.

“Norma is very sweet, she’s like a grandma, she normally gets anywhere between 14 and 20 books every two weeks,” he said.

To get someone enrolled in the homebound program, call Extension Services at 574-294-2619 or ask about it at one of EPL’s branches.