A legacy in words

L to R: Hilary Cox (Libraries and Information Service) and Caroline Talbott (Jean’s daughter)​

A Chew Valley resident has left a legacy inspiring others to gain as much pleasure from books as she did, thanks to a generous donation from her family and friends to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Home Library Service.

Jean Coram from Stanton Drew always enjoyed books, as she said they took her off to different places in her imagination. During the latter years of her life as her eyesight became poor, she began to enjoy talking books supplied by the Home Library Service.

When Jean sadly passed away earlier this year her family wanted to support the service in her memory. Generous donations of £675 from the family and her many friends have enabled the purchase of 17 talking books titles.

A plate has been placed inside each book which reads: “In loving memory of Jean Elizabeth Coram, an enthusiastic member of the Home Library Service. Her family and friends invite you to journey as she did through the wonder of words.”

Caroline Talbott, Jean’s daughter, said: “Being able to listen to books meant that Mum felt part of the wider world, even though her physical world had shrunk. The visits from the Home Library Service and the talking books brought Mum so much pleasure, so we wanted to give something back. I have been overwhelmed at the generosity of family and friends which meant a collection of talking books could be bought for the Library Service in her memory for others to enjoy. It’s a perfect legacy and it’s wonderful for us to think that even more choices are now available for other people to enjoy. I hope they will read the bookplate and think of the person who inspired the collection.”

The council’s libraries team has chosen some books by authors that Jean enjoyed, including Gervase Phinn and Sally Magnusson.

The Home Library Service is for readers who have severely restricted mobility and cannot visit their local library. Volunteers get to know readers’ interests and collect and return books from the local library on their behalf. 

Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children & Young People, Communities and Culture, said: “It’s heart-warming to learn how much pleasure Jean got from books and we are so touched that her family has made this kind donation to inspire others to enjoy reading. Thank you from us at the council and on behalf of all our library users. 

“I’m delighted to hear that Jean benefitted so much from our Home Library Service. Thanks also to our excellent volunteers who help people who can’t visit a library to feel less alone.”

Anyone wishing to become a volunteer for the Home Library Service should contact homelibraryservice@bathnes.gov.uk