For 80-year-old Hillsborough resident Jose Cuevas, visiting the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s (SCLSNJ) Hillsborough branch three times per week was one of his favorite activities until health restrictions made it difficult for him to leave his apartment. 

In order to connect Library customers, like Cuevas, that are experiencing temporary or permanent qualifying barriers to visiting physical Library locations, SCLSNJ launched the Home Borrowing Library Services (HBLS) program. The program, which was piloted earlier this year, has launched System-wide as of May 1. 

“I am delighted with the official launch of HBLS, which underlines SCLSNJ’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion by providing equitable access to our Library services,” said Jen Sulligan, civic services supervisor. “Staff are committed to engaging with our customers and providing support to ensure that everyone in our community can connect, explore, share, and discover with us, even if they cannot physically visit our branches.”

Through this program, qualifying Library customers are able to receive customized packages containing the Library materials through the mail via the U.S. Postal Service or The New Jersey State Library Talking Book & Braille Center; by family or friend pickup; and/or digital download.

“I am living happy; I am great,” said Cuevas of being able to receive Library materials through the HBLS program. “I love a good library.”

In addition, the HBLS program also offers Library customers the opportunity to connect with Library staff that can provide them with information about other Library programs and services.

“While our connections with home borrowers will focus on material borrowing services, the relationships formed will also serve as a new point-of-entry to remote Library services and programs that may be accessed from beyond our buildings,” said Nicole Pascoe, civic services manager. “We look forward to continuing to enhance the development of HBLS throughout 2021. Restructuring these valuable and important services in a streamlined, simple, and safe way continues to be a priority of SCLSNJ.”

If you or someone you know has difficulty visiting the Library, and would like more information about receiving materials by mail, connecting with digital resources, or designating a friend or family member to pick up materials, visit: SCLSNJ.org/HomeBorrowing or call  (908) 458-4935.