The physical library space is vital for effectively meeting the needs of the most disadvantaged and isolated in our communities.
Carol Stump, President, Libraries Connected
Library services are far more than their buildings. During lockdown, libraries expanded their digital and remote offer to continue to provide services to their communities. They’ve seen a 600% increase in digital membership as well as fourfold increase in the number of ebooks borrowed. These activities support children learning at home, reduce isolation and include exciting new events created in partnership with local artists and arts organisations.
While libraries have rapidly adapted to this new normal, we know that our communities need our buildings and the range of services that we provide in them. Libraries are trusted spaces in the heart of communities and the launchpad for a range of inclusive library activities.
Through our Universal Library Offers, libraries promote access to reading, training, digital skills, trusted information and cultural experiences to people at every stage of their lives.
In our new local advocacy resource, we’ve identified five key areas where libraries can play a central role in meeting the needs of individuals and communities who may be struggling to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 crisis. These are:
- Economic recovery with help and training for job seekers and entrepreneurs
- Education support for children and SEND students who struggled to learn at home
- Isolation mitigation for vulnerable groups and to help people to reconnect locally
- Digital inclusion for residents who lack IT skills or have no access to the Internet
- Cultural partnership to help local artists and arts organisations to continue their work.