Libraries Transform in Times of Covid-19
Libraries are invaluable places where individuals of all ages have the opportunity to access a wide world of reliable information and knowledge. In fact, UNESCO explains that using libraries can ‘play a key role in promoting national literacy efforts’ catering for all abilities and ages, they also help to promote a reading culture and build a literate society. However, our digital world is pushing libraries to re-evaluate and reinvent their services to survive.
The Guardian Newspaper in Britain reported that ‘almost 800 libraries have closed since 2010’, it represents ‘a fifth of the UK libraries over the last 10 years’. Additionally, there are ‘8 million active borrowers at libraries in the UK’ and ‘233.1 million’ visits to public libraries in a year according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). In response to this, iNews, has informed that a group of Britain’s leading authors has stood up against the library closures; as libraries are the ‘universities of the streets’ as quoted by poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
Libraries During Covid-19
While the world is facing a difficult situation due to Covid-19, hundreds of organisations and businesses have temporarily closed, including libraries. At the moment, the situation is improving, and some countries are allowing libraries to reopen slowly. In the UK, there is a limited service of borrowing, returning, browsing and computers.
In this time of transition and to adopt the new preventative measures, such as social distancing to slow down the spread of Covid-19, libraries have been forced to implement digital strategies to continue to offer their services to the community.
Libraries Connected explains how libraries have moved to offer their services remotely for everyone with digital services that include: online rhyme and storytimes, audio and e-books, digital newspapers, magazines, encyclopaedias, music collection, online courses, E festivals and reading groups.
How can we support local libraries?
Whether your library is a large public or a small school library, they all offer a way to increase knowledge and provide learning opportunities that can build bridges to increased literacy levels.
As libraries are transforming their services to adapt to a digital world, it is essential to support them and keep their services alive in the communities for future generations. Here are some practical tips you can implement:
- Look for the recommended books and information on events on their website such as: book readings by authors, family days, book clubs, writing projects, summer reading challenges, school events, children’s storytimes and baby and toddler events.
- Introduce your children to your local library in person or online and encourage them to borrow their first books. From babies and toddlers to teens and adults – it is free and easy for the whole family to join.
- Some libraries can offer other services to interact with community members such as: fitness, mindfulness, art, crafting, knitting, photography, computing and careers advice.
So, go and check out what your local library has to offer today!