Fort Worth

Fort Worth Library Reaches Out to Customers 65 and Older

Phone call provides connection and information

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Public libraries are places for information and connection.

And what the Fort Worth Public Library is doing to live that mission - even while being closed - is something good.

For the past month, a handful of staff members have called customers age 65 and older just to see how they're doing.

"And whatever their need is we try and provide it. This is what we do. We connect our costumers with information," Regional Manager Barbara Henderson told NBC 5.

A news release from the city says full-time staffers placing the calls make an average of 157 calls a day, working from a list of more than 9,500 names.

The library sees the phonecalls as a personal touch.

"Giving them someone to talk to, providing services beyond our four walls, providing them with online resources they can use while they're sheltering in place," Henderson said. "Just because we're closed to the public right now doesn't mean we have to stop the communication we have with them."

For Henderson, the call project is something after her own heart.

"I've always had a soft spot in my heart for older people. Once we were presented with this project, it felt like it was meant for me, because I interact with older people very well," she said. "And it just meant a lot to me to reach out to people who may not have anyone calling them."

Henderson says one day she called a woman who was on her way out but she took the time to take the call. It turned out the women had a lot in common. The woman was a nurse, and Henderson has first responders in her family. And both have grandchildren.

The calls are nothing more than an act of service, and Henderson is quick to emphasize that.

"When talking to us they're safe. We will identify ourselves. We will let them know we're from the Fort Worth Public Library, and we will never ask them for any personal information. So they can feel comfortable in talking to us," she said.

Come next Tuesday, the connection between libraries and customers will take a step forward.

Limited curbside service will start May 19 at five locations: Southwest Regional, East Regional, Golden Triangle, Summerglen and Northwest Libraries, Tuesday - Friday 10:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from noon - 5 p.m.

The libraries ask that customers reserve titles online, then call to schedule a contactless pick-up.

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