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Turkish municipality launched “Hello Books” project for the elderly and disabled amid pandemic

Turkish municipality launched “Hello Books” project for the elderly and disabled amid pandemic

Getting their books is now just a phone call away for the elderly and disabled whose lives were further restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic. A local municipality in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş has launched “Hello Books,” a project that brings any book to people’s homes, once they place a call to the municipality hotline.

The project particularly aims to serve people living in the remote areas of the province, with no access to libraries and people confined to home either due to disabilities or for fear of viral infection.

Municipality crews in protective masks deliver thoroughly disinfected books to callers. “We don’t want any reader not to be left without books in these times,” Ayşe Sofioğlu, head of the municipality’s Department of Libraries, told Anadolu Agency (AA) Monday.

Beyzanur Yaren Şireli, a 19-year-old woman with a disability, had books delivered to her home. “I really love books and grateful that they bring books to us,” she said.

İsmail Durna, an 80-year-old chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patient, said municipality crews “mobilized” with his one phone call.

Libraries in the country were shut down in March as part of measures against the coronavirus but were reopened in June amid strict rules. Most libraries work with an “appointment system,” admitting only applicants booked ahead, and a mask requirement is in place for visitors. They are regularly disinfected and the seating layouts were modified to allow readers to maintain a social distance. Amid pandemic, they look to come up with new ways to attract readers. In the northwestern province of Bursa, the local municipality had launched an outdoor library in a park recently, allowing readers to maintain social distancing better.