Mobile library helps book-mad Blackpool woman keep reading after heart attack

The doorstep delivery service in Blackpool is helping elderly and disabled people keep up with their reading.

Carole Ashworth runs the at-home library service, which delivers books to Blackpool residents who can not get out to a library.

She said: “It’s for anyone who can not get into town, whether it’s because of mobility issues, or they might be shielding.

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Joyce Riddett gets books through the At Home Library Service

“We help carers who do not have the time to get to the library. And some people who have just come out of hospital and are recovering from surgery.

“We visit residential homes too.”

The goal is to make reading accessible to everyone.

Before the pandemic, Carole and her team used to visit the person in their home for an informal chat to learn about the reader.

But now they operate as a doorstep delivery service.

“We really like to get to know our customers. So now, we start with a telephone appointment where we find out all about their tastes, their favorite authors, and we will choose books that we think they’ll enjoy. ”

Carole or one of her volunteers then books a time slot that suits the reader and usually visits every three weeks.

Joyce Riddett had been using libraries all her life, up until she had a heart attack in 2019.

The 88 year old used to drive to Moor Park library every day with a friend.

But the retired secretary, who lives in sheltered accommodation at Cherry Tree Gardens, lost a lot of mobility after a heart attack in 2019.

She said that reading has kept her sane.

“I do not know what I’d do if I could not read. I’ve always loved to have my nose in a good book so I’m just so thankful that I can use this service.

Carole brings me 5 or 6 books every three weeks. I think she does it based on my previous loans but she usually gets things right. ”

Joyce grew up in Islington, North London, and moved to Blackpool in 1993. She has three grown-up children living in Scotland and Ireland, and has no other family in Blackpool.

She goes to church every week, and waves at her neighbors as they walk past her window.

But she’s usually got her nose buried in a book.

“The community center are always trying to get me to do activities like cross stitch but I’d rather be reading a good book if I’m honest.”

Mrs Riddett also gives Carole a list of books she wants to reserve in future. She reads Saga magazine and when she reads a book review she adds it to her list.

“I’ve already requested the next Jeffrey Archer and Richard Osmond books, due out in September.”

And she is currently reading ‘A Windsor Knot’ by Sophia Bennet – one that brings back fond memories of when she lived in Windsor.

“Not that I knew the queen, but you can just imagine what she gets upto in her castle.”

If you would like to take advantage of this service, or know of someone who would, please contact Carole Ashworth on 01253 476390.

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