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Why lockdown was the plot twist that libraries needed

In an opinion piece in the Guardian, the head of Suffolk Libraries in the East of England explains “why lockdown was the plot twist that libraries needed.”

…It is often said librarians suffer from a marketing issue. This is a profession hardwired not to boast about itself. But lockdown forced us to confront and subvert this mindset to ensure that people knew that we were still very much functioning and there were plenty of ways to access our services. A new report by the Carnegie UK Trust shows how successful these efforts were. It found that one in three people in the UK engaged with libraries during lockdown, despite the closures. It seems libraries didn’t just speak up, but nigh on shouted out during lockdown, and we are determined to maintain this noise as the country begins to reopen.

A substantial part of this success came through a significant increase in ebook borrowing – with 465,200 digital issues between April and July – a pattern reflected across the country, according to figures from Libraries Connected. Feedback from eLibrary users ranged from “thank you for still providing something” to “I never knew I could get all of this for free!” We had hundreds of new signups to these digital services…

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