Readers in Wolverhampton are discovering the joys of eBooks while their libraries are closed because of the coronavirus emergency.

Since the lockdown began in March, more than 700 people have either joined or re-started their library membership so that they can get hold of the latest bestselling eBooks and eAudiobooks for free via BorrowBox, with over 3,700 titles downloaded in that time.

Titles can be borrowed via any Apple iOS and Google Android phone, tablet or computer. To sign up, please visit Libraries

A new online reading group where members can discuss a particular BorrowBox title through the library service’s Facebook and Twitter pages, has also proved successful, with around 50 customers reading and discussing the current book, The Butlins Girls by Elaine Everest.
A ‘virtual’ librarian service, which sees staff answer people’s queries online, has also been popular, with more than 1,200 people contacting librarians over social media.

The ever popular story times, rhyme times and a new craft time for babies and children have also moved online. A new story is posted on social media every Tuesday, with sing-a-long rhymes following every Friday, and together they have been viewed more than 8,000 times. Young readers are also enjoying their own online reading group, devouring The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd, while a poetry competition for children has been launched on Facebook.

Online word searches, quizzes and jigsaws posted by staff have been a particular hit and have been tackled by around 2,500 customers.

With services moving online, the library’s social media channels have enjoyed a surge in popularity, with Twitter impressions increasing by 238% and the service’s Facebook reach more than doubling over the last few weeks. The Education Library Service has also introduced new social media channels so it can continue to support schools, teachers and home educators. 

Councillor Harman Banger, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “Although our city’s 16 libraries are currently closed the service is continuing to play a vital role in supporting people during the coronavirus emergency and it’s great that we are able to continue to provide so many ways for people to engage in a love of reading at this time.”

It's free to join Wolverhampton’s libraries and people can sign up on line. Please visit Libraries or follow on social media at Facebook and Twitter for more information.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS.  

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe Be Kind.