Homebound Library Services

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Homebound library services will provide library materials to patrons who reside in the City of Harlan and also any city who contracts with the library for library services and who are physically unable to visit the library.  The library will have staff/volunteers deliver library materials to patron’s homes.  All services are based on the availability of materials and staff/volunteers.

Patron Eligibility

Homebound service will be provided to residents of the City of Harlan, Westphalia, Kirkman, Defiance, Earling, Panama, Portsmouth, Shelby and Tennent who are not able to come to the library. “Homebound” is defined as being generally confined to the residence either temporarily, due to illness, surgery, or accident, or permanently, due to age, disability or other mobility problems. The Library reserves the right to refuse service.  Those living outside of a residential facility will receive first priority.

Library Card Registration

Each homebound patron must have a current library account. An account may be updated by telephone if it has expired. New library card registration can also take place over the telephone. The library volunteer or staff member who makes the initial delivery will confirm information provided over the telephone and give the patron their library card.

Selection of Materials

Only materials owned by the Harlan Community Library are eligible for home delivery, but requests for purchase will be considered for items that the library does not own. Each delivery should be limited to under 15 items unless special arrangements have been made with the volunteer or staff member. Books, Music CDs, Puzzles, Magazines and Audiobooks, will be loaned. DVDs, STEAM Backpacks and Hotspots are not eligible for home delivery. Materials cannot be placed on hold for home delivery. Each homebound patron must complete a form designed to match materials to readers’ interests. Homebound patrons may also request particular authors and titles and if available, will be included in the next delivery.

Delivery Schedule/Loan Period

All borrowing and delivery will be by appointment. Materials will be delivered to participants by a staff/volunteer once every two weeks. At the time new materials are delivered, the items from the previous delivery will be retrieved and returned to the library.


There is no fee for homebound delivery. Overdue fines will not be charged for materials received by homebound individuals, but the Library will charge for damaged or lost items. Fines charged to the patron’s account prior to participation in this program remain.  Patrons with fines over $5.00 on his/her account will not be eligible for delivery services.


If an item is eligible for renewal this should be done by phone on the day of the delivery and pick up to maintain consistency in the 2-week checkout period.

Conditions for Homebound Delivery

Patrons requesting homebound services must provide a safe and appropriate environment for volunteers or staff members who make deliveries to their homes and patrons are responsible for all library materials while in their custody. Library volunteers or staff members may choose not to enter a home, to leave a home immediately and/or to recommend suspension of the service if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Pets are not confined (with the exception of service animals trained to assist a disabled person).
  • A clear and safe path to the home, with snow shoveled and ice removed.
  • Any person in the home is dressed in inappropriate attire.
  • Any person in the home presents threatening behavior.
  • Any person in the home uses abusive or obscene language, makes obscene gestures, or displays obscene images.
  • Any person in the home harasses the library’s representative.
  • Any person in the home exhibits signs of illness that may jeopardize the health of the library’s representative and the library has not been notified of the illness.
  • Any person is smoking inside the home at the time of the library’s delivery.
  • Any person is engaging in any illegal activity in the home at the time of the library’s delivery.
  • Any library material currently in the possession of the homebound patron appears to have been willfully defaced, mutilated, or damaged while in the custody of the homebound person.
  • Conditions in the home are unsafe or unsanitary.

If a volunteer or staff member recommends suspension of service, the volunteer or staff member shall provide the Circulation Desk Manager with notice of the reason. The Circulation Desk Manager shall send written notice to the patron of the reason for, and the length of, any continuing suspension of service and shall also provide a copy of the notice to the Library Director. Any homebound patron may request in writing that the suspension of service be reviewed by the Board of Trustees at the next monthly Board meeting.

Homebound Library Services Policy & Application