New investment in Library eBooks & eAudiobooks

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Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, has announced a fund of €200,000 to support the provision of an additional 5,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks in order to meet the significant increase in demand for access to the public library online service during the COVID-19 crisis.

The funding is directed through the Local Government Management Agency which administers the online library system.

Announcing the funding, Minister Ring said:

“Even though you physically can’t go into our libraries at the moment, the library service is still very much available to people online. In fact, we have had a big upsurge in demand for our online library service since our libraries closed their doors.

“To ensure that the online stock could meet the increase in demand I have approved €200,000 to provide an additional 5,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks to the online collection.”

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In the week following the closure of the public libraries, over 7,300 people registered for the Borrowbox service which provides eBooks and Audiobooks to library members, almost as many as had joined since the start of the year up to that point.

There were also 25,521 eBooks downloaded from 13th to 19th March, a more than threefold increase on the previous week. During that same week there were over 26,000 eAudiobook downloads, more than double the previous week.

Minister Ring continued:

“Our public libraries began innovating as soon as our branches were closed to the public. We removed the requirement for people to have to go to their library to join.  This can now be done fully online so people will have immediate access to the online services.

“I want to assure everyone that my Department is taking every possible action to prepare for the challenges we are facing and that our libraries can continue to benefit people during this period.”

Public libraries provide users with a wide range of free online services including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, online courses, online languages and online newspapers.  All resources can be accessed online via https://www.librariesireland.ie/elibrary.

Online services can be accessed by downloading the following apps:

  • BorrrowBox – 30,313 e-books and 22,781 e-audiobooks via the libraries BorrowBox App.
  • RBdigital – Latest editions of over 350 international magazines including Hello!, Woman’s Own, The Economist, Time Magazine etc.
  • PressReader – provides more than 3,200 newspapers from over 100 countries worldwide including the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Sligo Champion and Daily Telegraph.
  • Transparent Language – provides courses in 114 different languages, together with English courses for speakers of 32 different languages.
  • Universal Class – which is available via www.UniversalClass.com provides over 500 e-learning courses including computer classes and alternative medicine.

All of these services can be accessed by signing in with your library card number. You can phone your local library if your card is out of date or if you need any assistance. Contact details are available on https://www.librariesireland.ie/find-your-local-library.

In addition to these online services, public library staff are continuing to work in the branches providing a range of services that include:

  • telephone services including technical support for members, from membership queries to borrowing options, and providing advice on the status of library operations,
  • Facebook Live story times,
  • printables for colouring,
  • access to printed Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection forms and
  • links to local Volunteer Centres, local Garda Síochána and Family  Resource Centres to promote services to our isolated individuals and older people.

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