STAFFORDSHIRE’S library service is expanding its online eBooks service to meet rising demand during the Coronavirus crisis.
Demand for the eBook service has risen sharply since people were told to stay at home, apart from exceptional circumstances, while the numbers of followers for Staffordshire Libraries Facebook page has doubled since lockdown.
Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We invested last year in our eBooks service to increase stock by 80 per cent and now we’re investing in new titles again to meet the sudden rise in demand.
“Our 43 libraries may be closed at the moment, but all our online resources are there for people to enjoy.”
As well as the sharp rise in eBooks activity, more than 3,300 new people followed the Staffordshire Libraries Facebook page in a few days – and there have been more than 255,000 interactions with it in the last three weeks.
Gill Heath added: “The service’s Facebook page is brilliant. Staff are using it to post films of ‘Baby Bounce’ activities, or ‘Afternoon Story Time’ so parents can do things with their children at home.
“We’re also directing parents to activities such as virtual tours of zoos, information to support children being schooled at home and online support for mental health.
“We are reaching thousands of people and we will keep trying to help with ideas and suggestions – and the best thing is that the people loving the service are sharing it with others and feeding back their ideas and it’s just getting better and better.”
Existing library members who haven’t signed up online can download the BorrowBox app or visit its website at www.borrowbox.com and use their membership number and PIN to access what’s on offer.
New library service members can register online by going to www.staffordshire.gov.uk search ‘join library’ and follow the instructions, but are asked to be patient if many people are trying to enrol at the same time.
While Staffordshire’s physical libraries and mobile libraries are closed, all loans will automatically be extended they reopen and no-one will face fines for late returns.
Stay at home
● Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.