Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, has announced €200,000 to support the provision of additional e-books and e-audiobooks to meet the significant increase in demand due to the Covid-19 crisis. This funding is in addition to the €200,000 which was invested at the beginning of the crisis. Minister Michael Ring 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. The funding will be directed through the Local Government Management Agency. Since the public libraries closed on 12 March the levels of online usage of library services has been at unprecedented levels.
Since the first investment in late March, nearly 21,000 new members have registered on Borrowbox, the service which allows access to the eBooks and eAudiobooks. Mr Ring said, “This is nearly three times as many people as registered for the service during the first two months of the year, so it shows how important and popular the service is. I would encourage everyone to join the library. It is free to do so and you can join via the Libraries Ireland website.”
Since the closure of public libraries on 12 March, there has been an average of 504 new members registered daily for the Borrowbox service, compared to the daily average of 138 who registered previously in 2020.