A HOME delivery service for library books has given lifelong literature lovers a lifeline during lockdown.

The Old Town Library inside the Swindon Arts Centre claims to be the only library in Swindon offering this service and hopes to help shielding elderly and vulnerable people who can no longer pop in in person.

The library has already been delivering books to regular reader Mavis Peaple for many months ever since she suffered an injury that left her unable to browse the shelves herself.

Then when the pandemic hit and visitor numbers dwindled, librarian Debra Lamb gave everyone the chance to sign up.

Mavis said: "It's an absolute miracle. I missed my books so much. Debra and I get on well, she knows what I like - she's a walking library herself.

"Having someone deliver books to your door is the most wonderful thing and I would like to thank the volunteers for their efforts."

Phil Bailey and Jane Caudwell drive around town four days a week to drop off books that will help people beat boredom.

Phil has volunteered at the library for a year, helping with events like storytime, rhyme time and quizzes. Jane offered to join him after the pandemic put all her other volunteer work on pause.

Jane said: "It's good to share the weight and it's better than doing it alone so I was happy to join. The people we visit are so grateful and they think the service is a great idea.

Phil said: "The service is much-needed because people always want something new to read.

"Interacting with the customers is my favourite bit of volunteering. There are a lot of young people in Old Town who visit this library that we have not seen for a while.

"For our elderly visitors, it's a social hub as much as it is a reading hub. They like that there's someone to see and talk to, and they enjoy the quizzes."

The pair have made a handful of deliveries so far but want to spread the word about the service and bring the joy of reading to as many people as possible.

Librarian Debra Lamb said: "Before lockdown, we asked our senior customers who use the library a lot if they would be interested in home delivery and the reaction was great.

"A lot of people are still anxious about going outside and for people who have been readers their whole lives, books are a necessity not a luxury.

"We are lucky to have volunteers who can do this work, they always have a great reception when they turn up on someone's doorstep because it means a lot to people, they're heroes.

Anyone interested in this can call Debra on 07786 027185.