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Soaring growth in demand for e-books and newspapers

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USE of online library resources has rocketed since lockdown, figures released by Jersey Library show.

Ed Jewell

More than 11,000 e-books, audio books, newspapers and magazines have been downloaded by readers since the start of March and demand for Pressreader – an online platform to access newspapers and magazines from around the world – was up by 259% last month, compared with March 2019.

Chief librarian Ed Jewell also highlighted an increase in digital subscriptions to Jersey Library. ‘Online membership registration was a relatively new service last year and before lockdown, the vast majority of new members would have joined in one of our libraries but membership registrations have jumped from 24 in March/April 2019 to 345 in March/April 2020,’ he said.

While he acknowledged that the current situation, in which the public had no physical access to the library, made it difficult to compare those figures, he welcomed the huge increase in the context of a doubling in the use of all the library’s online resources.

He also drew attention to other ways in which the library had adapted to the coronavirus restrictions, which caused it to close its doors to the public on 21 March.

‘Over the last month the Jersey Library team has been working hard to make its resources available and find new ways in which it can support the local community.

‘The library’s existing home-delivery service, which previously took books and resources to those unable to visit a library, has been modified to follow strict UK preparation guidelines and expanded to support those who are self-isolating or shielding,’ Mr Jewell said.

He added that library staff were also playing a substantive role in the Government of Jersey’s new Connect Me service, signposting information, advice and support for those Islanders who needed help.

‘We look forward to being able to welcome the public back into our libraries. In the meantime we are seeking to use our skills as information professionals as effectively as possible and help people to access the resources and services they need,’ he said.

The library’s online collections and membership registration details can be accessed at https://jerseylibrary.gov.je.

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