Many of Wales’ local authorities are now embarking on the first phase of resuming library services – with a Click and Collect service.
All the library services of local authorities have continued to offer resources throughout the crisis, such as e-books and e-magazines through the Digital Library. Welsh Government provided £250,000 towards digital library resources which enabled public libraries to provide additional resources during the crisis and has led to Libraries seeing a dramatic increase in the number of individuals accessing digital resources.
Since libraries closed as a result of lockdown, statistics provided by Bolinda, one of the main providers of e-resources, show a 110% increase in total loans compared to the same period in 2019.
Additional funding has also been provided to libraries from Welsh Government’s £1 million Cultural Resilience Fund to help with adapting facilities to accommodate a click and collect service.
Nicola Pitman Chair of the Society of Chief Librarians Wales, said:
Having seen huge take-up of our enhanced digital resources, we’re pleased that library users across Wales can once again borrow physical books via Click and Collect. To manage numbers and keep everyone safe, this will be on an appointment basis, and customers without access to the internet can contact their local library service for details.
The First Minister announced on 8 May that local authorities could begin the process of planning how to safely reopen libraries. Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:
Our libraries have been providing valuable digital services throughout the crisis and I’m delighted that we are now looking at expanding the offer in a phased approach which has the safety of the staff and public as a priority.
During the next few weeks, Click and Collect services will be delivered by library services across Wales. Please check with your Local Authority on which services are available in your area.