Quiet revolution for Oxfordshire’s library service during lockdown

Bookworms in Oxfordshire have been having a good old read during lockdown – and the county council’s library service is continuing to thrive as a result, even though its doors are closed to the public.

April saw a record for people joining Oxfordshire libraries online. A total of 589 people joined – a record for one month and an 86 per cent increase compared to the figure for April 2019.

Meanwhile loans of eBooks and eAudio loans have nearly doubled compared to this time last year. During April more than 22,000 items were borrowed from the county council’s online library.

Oxfordshire County Council has doubled its investment in purchasing eBooks and eAudio to support this demand.

Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Cultural Services, said: “We are looking forward to Oxfordshire’s 44 libraries being able to open their doors once more because they are a much valued part of day to day life in the communities they serve. They are so much more these days than a silent place where you can borrow books.

“However there’s been a quiet revolution going on as regards our online offer during the Spring. This is obviously driven by lockdown but we are hoping to continue the interest in our online library service long after the current situation has ended.

“It’s a joy to see so many people continuing to engage with the library service despite this odd and difficult phase in our lives. No one needs to worry about returning or renewing items. Before the lockdown, we suspended the date due of all items that are on loan. This will continue indefinitely.

“People also have the option of visiting our Facebook pages to view story- times, quizzes and be part of our online bookclub.”

How to find out more

To find out what services the Oxfordshire County Council library service offers you from the comfort of your own home visit here https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/leisure-and-culture/libraries/reference-online?utm_source=libraryhomepagereferenceonline