Huge surge in readers accessing online books and material from Lancashire's libraries

More than 2,600 readers signed up to use online resources in Lancashire libraries since libraries closed in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

By Stef Hall
Monday, 4th May 2020, 3:45 pm

Lancashire County Council has revealed more people are accessing digital books and audiobooks since the coronavirus outbreak, as people find new ways to keep themselves occupied while staying at home.

Loans of eAudiobooks increased from 11,771 loans in January to 15,484 loans in March, while loans of e-Books increased from 9,845 to 14,261 in April.

The council has bought an additional 2,500 eAudiobooks and more than 2,000 eBooks to meet the demand.

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The Harris Library in Preston is among those closed during the lockdown

In addition to extra funding committed by the authority during the crisis, £1,000 has also been received from Arts Council England and another £1,000 from eBook provider, Bolinda.

New digital activities have also been launched, including a Monday Lego Club on Twitter and Facebook.

County Coun Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “While branches must be closed to help to combat the spread of Covid-19, it’s fantastic to see more people than ever are discovering and enjoying the wide range of online material we offer.

“We want to support people as much as possible during this time.

“That’s why we have launched more digital services for home use and why our staff are working online to continue to engage with families in the many library activities.

“We have been delivering online 24/7 services for a number of years and we have continued to develop and add online content whenever we can.

“In the current challenging time when our library buildings are closed these are now more relevant than ever.”

Customers will not be charged for the late return of any items during the period that the libraries are closed, but are asked to renew books online if possible, or by calling 0300 123 6704.

Library users are being asked to hold onto books and not to post them through letter boxes or leave them outside libraries.