Library membership soars during lockdown – sign up today

The number of people joining Somerset’s library service has rocketed during the coronavirus lockdown – despite library buildings being closed to the public.

The service is proving popular with hundreds of people joining Somerset Libraries online since the Lockdown began – an increase of 544 per cent compared to the number of people joining online during the same period last year.

Anyone in Somerset can download books, audiobooks, graphic novels and a range of magazines, including titles like Radio Times, BBC Good Food and National Geographic, for free with your library card.

It’s really easy to get started, but if you need a bit of extra help drop us an email librariesmail@somerset.gov.uk or pick up the phone (0300 123 2224) and we’ll arrange for someone to give you a ring to talk you through getting set up. Alternatively step by step guides on the application process and how to download literature are available on our website www.somerset.gov.uk/libraries.

There have been thousands of free downloads of books, audiobooks and magazines, as more people have been taking advantage of the enhanced digital offer, funded by Somerset County Council and other partners in the LibrariesWest consortium.

New services for library members now include access to Ancestry.com for those people interested in researching their family tree; comics and graphic novels for teens and younger readers, and even access to Medici TV, with more than 2,500 videos including concerts, operas, ballets and more.

The Library service is continuing to provide many of its most popular events and activities thanks to library staff who, working from home have been busy creating a host of vibrant content on social media, including story-times, quizzes and other activities. Check them out on Facebook (search for Somerset Libraries UK, or your local library Facebook page), Twitter (@SomersetLib) and Instagram (search for Somerset Libraries).

Councillor David Hall, County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, said: “It is important to keep our minds active during these challenging times when we all have so much time on our hands. I am delighted to see so many people taking advantage of our online library services to get them through the day.

“Now, more than ever before, the Library Service is playing a crucial role in supporting the people of Somerset.”