Published 07 May 2020
West Dunbartonshire’s library service has invested £30,000 in new online books and magazines to provide residents with an expanded collection of online recourses.
Following the temporary closure of libraries, the service has reinvested the money traditionally spent on paperback and hardback books to the online resources which have seen a surge in demand in online borrowing during the Coronavirus lockdown.
The number of users of the Council’s online library, Borrowbox has trebled and the number of e-books and e-audiobooks accessed have doubled.
The extensive collection of digital titles as well as a selection of digital eMagazines and eNewspapers can be downloaded free from the Council’s websites and accessed anywhere on a range of devices including mobile phones and tablets.
Residents are can access bestselling authors including James Patterson and Ann Cleeves, and read inspirational Michelle Obama’s award-winning autobiography ‘Becoming’. And younger residents can read the complete Harry Potter collection.
As more residents are turning to social media to interact during the restrictions , the number of Facebook followers on the area’s libraries account has doubled since last year with an additional increase of a third since March.
The service, which has offered a range of new online features via its social media accounts including virtual Bookbug sessions, for toddlers, has also seen a huge increase in the number of residents interacting on the platforms with 2,000 engagements last week on Facebook. Twitter followers increased by 220% from last month and the service has seen a seven fold increase in engagement during this month.
Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: " During these long days when we have all to remain at home, our digital books, audio books, magazines and newspapers are a welcome distraction from what is going on in the outside world. Our libraries are continuing to provide free access to books and magazines just as they always have. It is great to see 72% of users in April were new to the service. In addition, digital magazine use increased by 600% since last year and more than 3,000 digital newspapers articles have been read since lockdown, while video sessions including Bookbug have gone up from 41 to almost 10,000.”
Councillor Iain McLaren, Vice Convener of Corporate Services, said: “ Many of us are taking up new hobbies and our libraries have a large range of books to help get you started whatever your interest. Residents who were unable to return their books before the branches shut don’t need to worry as all items on loan will automatically be renewed until the branches reopen. Just go to the Council’s library website pages for all the information. It couldn’t be easier and it is all free.”
The service is still keen to see the colourful book displays in support of the NHS and key workers.
Residents can join the wonderful bookshelf of thanks by displaying shapes with books or by sorting them in the colours of the rainbow.
Residents who are not already a member of our online services, can join at www.libraryonline.org.uk and residents who have forgotten their PIN for accessing digital services can have this reset easily by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org