During a frustrating time for many in the UK, day to day activities seem to be very much limited. We’ve heard endless tips on how we can keep ourselves busy in the comfort of our homes’ during the current lockdown.
One way, however, people are keeping themselves entertain is through Digital Libraries. They are now a popular go-to for many people in the UK, as subscriptions increase for various online library membership providers.
As many look for ways to entertain themselves whilst indoors, online memberships to libraries have seen a massive increase of 770 percent in parts of the UK. As the UK are under strict instructions to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the government have said more people are turning towards digital libraries to keep themselves occupied.
Hampshire County Council has seen a 770 per cent increase in new digital users, while Cornwall Council has had a 630 per cent boost and Hertfordshire County Council an increase of 332 per cent.
The percentages were calculated by comparing borrowing activity on 11 March (before the lockdown began) to use the following week.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chairman of the LGA's culture, tourism and sport board, said: “The number of people registering to use digital library services across some parts of the country has rocketed."
He continued: “Council libraries provide a vital service for residents and act as community hubs in normal times.
“Their online digital contribution has now become equally important as people turn to them as a way to help pass the time at home."
Emma Marigliano, chairwoman of the Independent Libraries Association, said: “Our libraries have certainly been working all out to continue to interact with their members and their many other users.
“And if public libraries have seen such a surge in activity during these rather strange times then I'd say this is definitive proof that a) books and reading are still lifelines for so many, and b) of claims that libraries work just as well as centres for community cohesion - which they absolutely do.”