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Millions turn to libraries to get them through

Monday 25 May 2020

Millions of people have turned to libraries to get them through the current health crisis, with over 20,000 new members signing up online since the lockdown.  

Library staff will be spending this Library and Information Week (25 – 31 May) preparing to welcome back readers, as well as meet the thousands of new members that connected with their state or public library for the first time while in isolation.    

According to State Librarian John Vallance, "libraries have risen to the challenge to engage and stimulate their communities online through the isolation period with free virtual storytime sessions, online book clubs and talks, podcasts, digital puzzles and activities, as well as connect them with a wealth of digital content.”    

Since the 23 March shutdown, the State Library has enjoyed 703,611 website visits (20% increase) and 1,500 ebooks have been downloaded (200% increase)*.   

NSW public libraries have collectively processed over 800,000 eloans (300% increase) and enjoyed over one million website visits (100% increase)*.  

The State Library’s two main reading rooms will reopen for study and computer use to begin with from 10am on Monday 1 June. Most public libraries across the state are also set to reopen on 1 June.

* Percentage increases are compared to the same reporting period in 2019 (23 March to 15 May). 

Download the full media release