Library service

Many elderly and unwell people enjoy reading, but it can often be hard for them to get to a library. 'Zorgbib', Belgian Red Cross-Flanders’ library on wheels, is manned by volunteers and has an extensive collection of over 192,439 items, including 181,491 books, 3,848 CDs and 7,100 DVDs.

More and more lending points

The number of 'Zorgbib' lending points is increasing year on year, with another 16 added in 2012. The total number across Flanders now stands at 272.

'Zorgbib' is particularly popular at care establishments, where an extra 15 lending points were added in 2012, bringing the total to 142. There are 92 lending points in hospitals and 29 in psychiatric units.

More than just a book

In 2012, our 'Zorgbib' volunteers loaned a total of 315,946 books, CDs and DVDs to 134,392 people. That was an increase of 2.7% compared with 2011.

There is an increasing need for social contact, including among residents of care and nursing homes. Many people receive few visits and often the staff looking after them do not have time to chat properly with every resident.

The weekly library visit is therefore something that many people look forward to. Choosing a book is often an opportunity for a good old natter too. In 2012, our 'Zorgbib' volunteers had 87,074 conversations with adults and children (up by 1.1%).

79.297 hours

In 2012, 953 volunteers (908 in 2011) from 112 branches devoted a total of 72,297 hours to 'Zorgbib'. Some 48 full-time equivalents would be needed to provide this ‘book and visit’ service, which shows how invaluable the commitment of our volunteers is.

Expansion of specific collections

'Zorgbib' offers something for everyone. With the increase in lending points in residential and care centers, we focused particularly in 2012 on providing information about dementia. We expanded our range of reminiscence materials aimed specifically at people with dementia, such as sensory DVDs,  old-fashioned picture books and so on. We will continue to expand these specific collections in 2013.

As the graph shows, we differ from standard public libraries by investing heavily in large-print and foreign-language books.

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Trend in Zorgbib lending points





Number of loans by genre