€200,000 investment in library eBooks and eAudiobooks

A FURTHER investment of €200,000 to support the provision of additional eBooks and eAudiobooks to meet the significant increase in demand for access to the public library online service during the Covid-19 crisis has been announced. This is in addition to the already allocated €200,000 invested at the beginning of the crisis.

Minister Michael Ring has also announced a fund of €20,000 to support the provision of an EasyReader collection of books for emerging adult readers and people with literacy needs.

Since libraries closed on March 12 the levels of usage of online library services has soared and is at unprecedented levels. Feedback from users continues to be extremely positive and to help boost the online resources, the minister said he was delighted to increase his department’s contribution from €200,000 to €400,000.

Since the first investment in late March, nearly 21,000 new members have registered on Borrowbox, the service which allows access to the eBooks and eAudiobooks. This is nearly three times as many people as registered for the service during the first two months of the year.

Said Minister Ring: “I would encourage everyone to join the library. It is free to do so and you can join via the Libraries Ireland website.”

Since the closure of public libraries on March 12 there has been an average of 504 new members registering daily for the Borrowbox service, compared to the daily average of 138 that registered previously in 2020.

Libraries are part of phase two of the government’s roadmap for reopening society and business when they will commence a ‘contact and collect’ service in selected branches.

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