Centenarian recommends council’s free home library deliveries

8 November 2022

Centenarian, Mrs Edna Mulford, celebrates Southwark Council’s free Home Library service, shortly after her 100th birthday.

Edna lives in Bermondsey, she favoured Rotherhithe library when she was more mobile and has always been a reader, she said: “I’ve used the library for about 90 years! I used to read while I was having my breakfast and when I was working I used Holborn Library when I needed a book for my lunch hour. I always had a book.”

Simon and Mrs Mulford

Simon, from the council’s Home Library team, has been delivering books to Edna and about 250 other people who can’t get to Southwark’s libraries, for more than 12 years.

Simon delivers large print books, small print books, cassettes and CDs. Like many older people whose eyes are not what they were, Edna prefers cassettes. This is because the buttons on CD players can be difficult to use.

Simon said: “People do love their books. It’s generally people who’ve read at an earlier stage in their lives, who stick with the service.

“It’s great to get out and visit all our regulars, but we spend a bit of time rewinding audio cassettes as well!”

The predominantly older people who use the service value Simon and his team. They’re on first name terms with all their readers, as they usually stop for a short visit while dropping off and collecting books, once a month.

Edna said: “During the lockdown Simon used to call me first to make sure I was alright and he made sure he always had his mask on. He came every month and put new books on the doorstep and took the old ones away. He never let me down.”

The council’s Home Library team visits most people in their homes, but they take books to people in care homes and sheltered housing units as well.

Edna said: “They come and deliver and you don’t have to worry about it. I just tell them I want an adventure or a good murder, but I don’t like romances at all!

“I’d rather have my book than have the telly on. I don’t know what I’d do without my books.”

Page last updated: 08 November 2022