Tameside’s libraries have reported a surge in online borrowing during the coronavirus lockdown as the nation seeks escapism and comfort in e-books.
Loans of online e-books, e-magazines and audiobooks were up an average of 63% in March compared with last year, and 120,000 people became library-members in the three weeks after lockdown began, Libraries Connected has revealed.
In Tameside, new registrations for the BorrowBox e-lending service have increased by an incredible 208%. As with so many other parts of the country the most popular adult title is “The Holiday” by TM Logan – a thriller promoted by the Richard and Judy Book Club. JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” tops the children’s chart.
Staff have been adding new and additional titles and extra “copies” to cope with the increased demand. One home-schooling mum sent the message: “Thanks, I’m sure it will be invaluable over the coming months.”
The RB Digital service, which make e-magazines available, has enjoyed a 20% growth in usage with Tameside Libraries having to buy more “copies” of the most popular titles such as the Radio Times, Economist and National Geographic.
Usage of PressReader is up by at least a third. This service offers 5,000 daily newspaper and magazine titles from more than 100 countries and in excess of 60 languages. There were 12,227 articles read in one week alone over Easter.
Cllr Leanne Feeley, Tameside Council’s executive member with responsibility for libraries, said: “I’m very pleased but not entirely surprised to see the huge increase in the numbers of people using our various online library services.
“Reading – which is something I am always keen to promote as it inspires creativity and imagination and broadens views and opinions – is bound to have additional appeal at a time such as this.
“The key is being able to fulfil the demands of our residents. Our Libraries staff have achieved this and once again I would like to thank them for their ongoing hard work and dedication.”
For more information on e-publications and audiobooks visit www.tameside.gov.uk/libraries