THE PROMOTION of virtual library services in Warwickshire has led to a dramatic increase in the number of people accessing digital resources.
Warwickshire Libraries has continued to offer online and delivery services throughout the pandemic, such as access to e-books and e-audiobooks through the BorrowBox online app, e-newspapers and digital reference resources, and a home book delivery service for vulnerable and self-isolating residents.
More than 1,300 people have joined the library service in Warwickshire since lockdown began and downloads of eBooks and eAudiobooks have now passed the 50,000 mark – a 100 per cent increase in the number of downloads when compared to the previous three months – with over 2,500 residents signing up for BorrowBox.
A new ‘Click and Collect’ service now enables people to pre-order books online free of charge and pick them up from a library at a pre-arranged time.
It is the first phase of Warwickshire County Council reopening face-to-face library services in the community after the disruption caused by Covid-19.
Coun Kam Kaur said: “Having seen an enormous take-up of our enhanced digital resources, we’re delighted that library users across Warwickshire will once again be able to borrow physical books via ‘Click and Collect’ and pre-order their books online.
“To manage numbers and keep everybody safe, book collection will be on an appointment basis in selected library locations. Customers without access to the internet can contact a local library via telephone to reserve their books.
“Our libraries have been providing valuable digital services during the pandemic and I’m pleased that we are now looking at increasing the offer in a phased approach which has the safety of our staff and public as a priority.”
Customers can also use the ‘Staff Select’ option by phoning or emailing Warwickshire Libraries to request up to three books on a particular subject or from a genre that they like (e.g. crime fiction), in a specific format if necessary (e.g. large print), which libraries staff will then select for them.
Libraries staff will contact customers to let them know when their books are ready and will give them an appointment time to attend one for the six ‘Click and Collect’ library locations to collect their books.
Books will be issued for the standard three weeks and can be renewed online if not reserved by another customer. There will be no reservation charges.
People will also be able to return library books when they pick up their ‘Click and Collect’ books. Fines will be waived if items are returned late, but customers will be encouraged to return their items on time for the benefit of other customers who may be waiting for that item.
There will be pre-bookable access to a small number of computers at the library locations offering the ‘Click and Collect’ service.
These can be booked in advance, with two computers available for 45-minute sessions. Unfortunately, no staff support or additional facilities such as printing and scanning will be available. These sessions need to be pre-booked.
Visit library.warwickshire.gov.uk or call 0300 555 8171 for full details of all services and to check which libraries are open.