FOGL News...

Call for Volunteers

Residents across Oxfordshire have continued to benefit from the county’s home library service during the pandemic with 8,364 library books being delivered from April to December 2020.


Oxfordshire County Council’s home library service is offered free to users in partnership with Age UK to almost 800 residents of all ages. These residents are unable to visit libraries themselves through frailty, infirmity or a disability and have no other means of getting access to loaned products. It is also available to full-time carers and those who might need the service in the short-term following illness or hospitalisation.


The service depends on a team of around 180 volunteers who supply the users with loan items on visits every three weeks. The service matches its volunteers carefully to specific residents to allow the same volunteer to visit each time. During the pandemic the number of volunteers has dropped linked to the impacts of COVID-19.


Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said: "The home library service has continued to play a vital role during the pandemic for those who cannot access libraries with books and other cultural resources provided by the council.


"As well as council staff, I would like to thank the dedication of our team of staff and volunteers who keep this service running and offer a very valuable resource to our residents who may otherwise be isolated. The home library service is about far more than books; it offers real and meaningful connections with residents whose needs may otherwise go unnoticed. Wherever you may live in Oxfordshire, the service would welcome new volunteers to help keep up the good work."


Recent survey feedback (48 responses) underlines the real value its users find from the service. The survey was aimed customers who have no volunteers free in their area or who are awaiting a volunteer to take over once their application has been completed.


Home visits are supported by COVID-19 safety measures with staff wearing face coverings, gloves and/or hand sanitiser and remaining at least two metres at all times from customers to keep people safe. All items collected are quarantined for 72 hours before being allowed back into the library.


Residents can volunteer to join the home library service by emailing or calling 01865 810259.


ancestry-Lib 300x154.png

Oxfordshire County Council libraries are now providing home access to Ancestry Library Edition. This is courtesy of Proquest and their partner Ancestry.  For licensing reasons, this is slightly different from other online services in that you will need to sign into your Library Account and click on the Ancestry link in order to gain access.               4-June-20

Hi-Vis 2020 Information Resources



Take the opportunity to promote local organisations that support people with visual impairment. Find out yourself about what they offer and use to help with enquiries from our library users.


Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

  • UK’s leading sight loss charity.

  • Particularly well known for the Talking Book service, the RNIB library is free to join and use. 26,000 titles, including new eBraille books.

  • Sightline directory – to find useful local services.


Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB)

  • Charity supporting children and adults who are blind or partially sighted throughout Oxfordshire.

  • Offers both practical and emotional support; advice service and equipment.

  • Trained volunteers for home visits to help with adjustments on computers, tablets etc, before resorting to specialist software.

  • Runs Sight Advisory Desk at Oxford Eye Hospital offering on-the-spot advice

  • Large directory of support groups; social groups; information and advice groups across the county.


Macular Society


Calibre Audio Library 

  • National charity providing unlimited audiobook loans to adults and children with sight problems – either digitally or on CD. Free to join for anyone who as a ‘print disability’. No fees or fines.



  • Postal lending library of 14,000+ children’s books – print, braille and tactile – designed to be shared by visually impaired and sighted children and adults.

  • Free to families; small charge to organisations.


Talking News Federation (TNF)

  • Supports UK Talking Newspapers that provide free audio recordings of local news for the blind and partially sighted.

  • Links to local Talking Newspapers in Banbury; Didcot, Abingdon and Wantage; Oxford & District; Wallingford; Witney.


Guide Dogs for the Blind Association



  • Helps adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their own ICT to make it easier, at home and in the workplace.

  • Impressive resource of online help and factsheets.

  • Services are free and home visits available.


OCC Visual Impairment Team

  • OCC team offers support and advice on all types of visual loss and issues surrounding this.

  • Staff can visit the home or the workplace for rehabilitation support.

  • Signposts to other organisations who can help.


Live Well Oxfordshire

  • Find out what’s available in your area – local support groups, social groups, leisure activities.


© 2020 FOGL

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon