Of all the establishments that had to close their doors during the first period of lockdown, it is probably the libraries that have been able to withstand the shock caused by COVID-19 the best. As proof, the figures unveiled at the start of Quebec Public Library Week reveal a very strong increase in … digital traffic.
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During the period from March 15 to June 30, the Association of Public Libraries of Quebec (ABPQ) effectively noted among its members a total increase of 117% in digital loans, 557% for digital audio books and 482% for children’s digital books. In addition, the rate of new users of the platform increased by 175%.
A majority (70%) of libraries in the network said they signed up new subscribers despite the closures, and a quarter of the libraries delivered materials to homes during the lockdown.
“In the context where traditional schools and training places were mostly closed or paralyzed last spring, it was particularly crucial that libraries answer the call and this is what they have done and continue to do”, said Denis Chouinard, president of the ABPQ, in a press release on Saturday.
The 22nd edition of Public Libraries Week takes place under the theme of “My library: always by my side!”
Libraries located in the red zone have a second chance, during the month of October, to put into practice what they have learned during the first wave.
To the chagrin of readers, the government announced at the end of September that libraries in the red zone would have to close again during the second wave of COVID-19, even though there is no outbreak in Quebec.
The contactless loan remains an option, however. During the first wave, the service was offered by three quarters of the ABPQ member libraries.
Through Quebec Public Libraries Week, which takes place from October 17 to 24, the ABPQ also wishes to highlight its two new platforms, Heureduconte.ca and Quoilire.ca, both launched this year.