Last month, Arts Council England announced a grant of £151,000 to be shared equally between library services in England, in response to a phenomenal rise in demand for e-lending since libraries across the country closed on 23 March.
Wolverhampton Library Service received £1,000 from Arts Council England which was matched by book provider Bolinder, meaning £2,000 worth of eBooks and eAudiobooks have been added to BorrowBox for library members to download – including new titles from bestselling authors like Lee Child, James Patterson, Margaret Attwood, Harlen Coben, Anne Fine and Terry Deary.
Since lockdown, Wolverhampton Library Service has enjoyed a surge in people using its digital services. Loans of eBooks are up by 80% while aAudiobooks loans are up by 50%, with over 4,500 titles borrowed in that time.
BorrowBox titles can be borrowed via any Apple iOS and Google Android phone, tablet or computer. To sign up, please visit Libraries.
Councillor Harman Banger, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “We are very grateful for this additional funding from Arts Council England and Bolinder which has enabled us to offer even more titles through our online BorrowBox service.”
As well as new BorrowBox titles, the library service has launched an online reading group where members can discuss a particular book through the library service’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Younger readers also have their own online reading group.
Other online initiatives include a ‘virtual’ librarian service, which sees staff answer people’s queries via Twitter and Facebook, while the popular story times, rhyme times and a new craft time for babies and children are now streamed on social media. There are also online word searches, quizzes and jigsaws.
Councillor Banger added: “It’s great that we are able to continue to provide a service to so many people so that they can still engage with reading.”
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.