The government has doubled the funding it has provided for public libraries to buy eBooks and eAudiobooks in the Covid-19 crisis.
To meet the increased demand for online services from libraries, the Department of Rural and Community Development has allocated €200,000 for purchasing eBooks and eAudiobooks.
This is in addition to the already allocated €200,000 which was invested at the beginning of the crisis.
Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring said that usage of online library services has reached “unprecedented levels” since March.
“Since the closure of public libraries on 12th March there has been an average of 504 new members registering daily for the Borrowbox service which provides eBooks and eAudiobooks to library members”.
This is in comparison to an average of 138 people a day registering earlier in 2020, a 264% increase.
“The average number of daily eBook loans prior to March 12th was 1,106 but since then it is more than double that figure with a daily average of 2,502,” Michael Ring added.
The Minister also announced a fund of €20,000 to support the provision of an EasyReader collection of books for emerging adult readers and people with literacy needs.
These “accessible format” of books are meant to help people with literacy needs through “jaron-free” language and shorter sentences.
“This initative has been developed in collaboration with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and is being rolled out as part of our national Right to Read Programme.”
Ireland’s libraries are set to reopen on a limited basis in Phase Two of the Roadmap for reopening the country.
Starting from June 8, selected libraries will begin operating a ‘contact and collect’ service, with strict social distancing and hand hygiene protocols in place.