eBook bonanza to keep readers busy

New funding has helped Derby Libraries spend £6,000 on increasing its supply of eBooks and Audiobooks, following a huge surge in demand for eLibrary services during lockdown.

In April 2020 there were 6,044 downloads of eBooks and Audiobooks by members, compared to 3,242 downloads during the same month in 2019. Audiobooks and eBooks are free for members to download through the BorrowBox app.

As well as £1,000 from Arts Council England, awarded to every library service in England to boost e-services in response to Covid-19, Derby Libraries were able to access an additional £5,000 from Bolinda, which supplies the eBooks and Audiobooks.

Thanks to the funding, library members now have better access to popular titles and commonly-requested books. Gaps in some book series have also been filled. Because more titles can be read by a number of people at the same time, Derby Libraries have been able to launch a virtual reading group through Facebook. The group is open to everyone, and can be found at www.inderby.org.uk/readinggroup.

There has also been an emphasis on buying more books for children as the majority continue to learn from home. Some of the money has been spent on increasing the range of books that a number of children can borrow at the same time. This gives them a greater choice of books to read or listen to if they’re taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, which is running online this year. Find out more about how to join in at www.inderby.org.uk/libraries/news/.

Schools across the city have also been making use of the eLibrary during lockdown. Landau Forte College, Murray Park Community School and Chaddesden Park Primary School have all encouraged their students to join while their home is their classroom.

Richard Gidlow, Key Stage 3 English Learning Leader from Landau Forte College, said: “The BorrowBox service has been a very impactful resource as it has allowed our students to make use of a digital library at a time when it would be hard for them to access physical books. It allows them to continue to progress their reading and choose from a wide range of books. We are so pleased that Derby Libraries have offered this resource. It has allowed our students to continue to cultivate their love of reading from home, at a time when escapism through a great book is needed more than ever.”

Councillor Robin Wood, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, added: “It is very encouraging to see how many people have discovered our eLibrary as a result of the pandemic. I’m sure their new-found reading habits will continue, especially as this funding will make even more books available to them.”

Non-members are able to join temporarily while the libraries are closed, meaning they can access all eLibrary services. See inderby.org.uk/libraries/how-to-join/ for more information.

When the libraries reopen, temporary members will be able to make their membership permanent. Currently staff are working hard behind the scenes to get everything in place ready to reopen the libraries in a way which is safe and practical. Dates for reopening are yet to be confirmed, but we are looking forward to welcoming members back, and the libraries’ website at inderby.org.uk/libraries will be updated as soon as details are available.

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