The number of people reading online newspapaers and signing up for language courses in Ireland has soared during the COVID-19 crisis.
Between the first week in March and the first week in April, online newspapers saw a 246% increase in usage, while the number of people taking e-learning courses jumped by 467%.
There was also a rise of 227% in language courses being taken.
Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring urged members of the public to avail of the excellent content and services offered by the online public library service during the crisis.
Minister Ring also highlighted the significant increase in users of the online library service since this emergency began.
New library memberships has nearly doubled during the COVID-19 crisis compared to the same period last year.
Over 30,000 new members joined the library in March 2020 compared to just over 17,000 in March 2019.
Minister Ring said: “This increase in usage of our online library services shows the benefits that people are getting from our libraries during this crisis.
“While the doors of our public libraries are temporarily closed, it’s great to see that people are availing of the vast array of reading and educational material online.
“During this challenging period, the online library service provides excellent ways to entertain and educate children as well as opportunities for adults to learn a language or skill or enhance their wellbeing.
“I am really heartened by the increase in membership and usage of our online libraries and I urge more people to sign up and avail of the wonderful content and services available.
“This is your library service, it is completely free and there is so much to be gained from it.”
If you are not a member already you can become an online library member by completing the online registration at www.librariesireland.ie/join-your-library