Boom in digital library usage

Libraries across some parts of the country have seen an increase in newly registered users of more than 600 per cent since lockdown measures were introduced, the LGA has reported.

It called on the Government and publishers to work together to unlock an additional £5 million in investment to enable libraries to increase their capacity to loan more e-books and audiobooks.

All council libraries have closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, but residents are still able to access digital library resources.

Councils are providing additional online access to resources under the hashtag #LibrariesFromHome, extending online memberships for no extra fee, and waiving fines incurred as a result of the closures.

Consequently, there has been a boom in new digital users. For example, Hampshire County Council has seen a 770 per cent increase in new digital users, Cornwall Council 630 per cent,  and Hertfordshire County Council 332 per cent.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: “Council libraries provide a vital service for residents and act as community hubs in normal times. Their online digital contribution has now become equally important as people turn to them to help pass the time at home.

“Councils are doing everything they can to protect their residents’ wellbeing during this difficult time. Extra funding would help libraries extend their licences and meet this growing demand.”


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