STANFORD — Thelma Sebastian grew up during the Great Depression, but even though her tough childhood made it difficult, she and her family still made time to read.
“We didn’t have many books — we barely had food on the table,” she said. “But my daddy would get down the Bible and read it to us.”
Besides helping counteract her Alzheimer’s, Sebastian reads to imagine and escape. Avalon romances and books that take her back to her childhood are some of her favorites.
“When you get to be 82, you don’t need too many things going around in your brain, just something light,” she said.
“I know that not everybody is going to live happily ever after, but it makes me feel good to think that they could.”
Sebastian is one of a growing number of Lincoln County residents discovering all the county library’s outreach program has to offer.
Sebastian can’t get out to the library herself, so the library comes to her, in the form a of friendly woman named Beverly Madden who visits every two weeks with new books.
But books aren’t all Madden brings — she also brings a smile to Sebastian’s face while she sits and visits or holds Sebastian’s hand as they walk through her house.
Madden is even responsible for the cat that now visits Sebastian’s home on a regular basis.
Sebastian said the cat was around her house once when Madden came to visit, and Madden could tell it needed food. The librarian headed to a nearby store and brought back some cat food.
Ever since then, the cat stops by, sometimes bringing “gifts” of dead animals it has caught.
“She’s more than just a lady who brings you books. She’s just good people. I like her very much. I love her,” Sebastian said.
“Who else would think about a poor old cat like that?”
When Madden first took over the outreach program, formerly known as the bookmobile, three years ago, she had about six people on her route.
Now, she averages about 87 patrons every other week.
She has a different route each day of the week, traveling to nearly every little corner of the county in the library’s book vehicle.
Library Director Amanda Gearhart said she’s pleased with the outreach program, which seems to be “continually growing,” and thinks demand for the service could be even greater if more people knew about it.
“It seems like every week or so we have somebody new calling to sign up,” Gearhart said.
“I think (Madden) is doing a fantastic job with it. I think she relates to the patrons very well.”
Stanford resident Marjorie Gooch has been getting books delivered by Madden for about a year, ever since she began having back troubles that have left her largely homebound.
Gooch, 85, said reading one to two books a week, along with listening to books on tape provided from Frankfort, helps keep her occupied.
“It means that I don’t have time to sit around and be depressed and worry about things,” she said.