Lockdown sends Louth readers back to the (e)Books

Sarah Smyth

Reporter:

Sarah Smyth

Lockdown sends Louth readers back to the (e)Books

There has been a surge in library membership during Covid -19 lockdown

The lockdown has sent thousands of Louth readers back to the books - eBooks, that is. Figures released by the Department of Rural and Community Development show that there were over 7,200 Borrowbox loans (eBooks and eAudiobooks) in Louth  between January and April this year.

In total the number of BorrowBox users in Louth has increased to 2,096 and between January and April, they have borrowed 3,735 eAudiobooks and 3,552 eBook loans.  

Nationwide there has been a huge surge in the numbers of people using the public library online service during the Covid-19 lockdown.  There has been a 272% increase in Borrowbox usage and a 126% increase in eBook loans in the period between mid March and end May. 

The government has announced a further €200,000 investment to support the provision of additional eBooks and eAudiobooks in order to meet the significant increase in demand for access to the public library online service at this time. 

Minister Michael Ring also announced a fund of €20,000 to support the provision of an EasyReader collection of books for emerging adult readers and people with literacy needs.

The funding will be directed through the Local Government Management Agency. 

Announcing the funding, Minister Ring said,

“Since the public libraries closed on March 12th the levels of usage of our online library services has soared and is at unprecedented levels. Feedback from users continues to be extremely positive and to help boost the online resources I am delighted to increase my Department’s contribution to online resources from €200,000 to €400,000.

“This is the second investment of €200,000 and since the first investment in late March nearly 21,000 new members have registered on Borrowbox, the service which allows access to the eBooks and eAudiobooks. This is nearly three times as many people as registered for the service during the first two months of the year so it shows how important and popular the service is. I would encourage everyone to join the library. It is free to do so and you can join via the Libraries Ireland website.”

Online public library services during COVID-19 crisis

Public libraries provide users with a wide range of free online services including eBooks, eAudiobooks, online newspapers and magazines, and member can do online courses or learn a language. All resources can be accessed online via https://www.librariesireland.ie/elibrary.