When Hull’s 12 library branches were forced to close in March as part of the national lockdown, Hull Libraries remained open online and saw a surge in requests for digital resources.
Now as we enter a third lockdown, books look set to be as popular as ever, with people expected to turn to reading to occupy the long dark winter nights.
Since March, thousands of new users have signed up for a library account with ebooks flying off digital shelves via the library’s ebook platforms Borrowbox and RBDigital resulting in thousands of issues of audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and comics.
The Magic Place by Chris Wormell was the most popular children’s book, with JK Rowling and David Walliams the most borrowed children’s authors.
Following the 2020 national trend for crime novels, thriller Blue Moon by Lee Child was the most borrowed adult fiction book.
Hull’s School Library Service continued to provide vital support to staff and students.
Since students returned to school in September, it had its busiest term ever, with more than 1,300 boxes of resources distributed to schools across the city.
It also delivered 32 virtual author visits in its ‘An Author a Month’ programme.
The team’s early year practitioners have also kept busy, publishing weekly Storytime, Baby Bounce and Toddler Tunes sessions alongside Monday craft sessions. With views in their thousands, they’ve provided a welcome distraction to babies, toddlers and parents.
Marjorie Brabazon, chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said: “Reading is the perfect escapism and the popularity of audiobooks has contributed to people looking for something to pass the time or help calm their worried or anxious minds.
“Hull Libraries remains open online with the team on hand to provide residents with entertaining resources from books and hibernation inspiration to online storytime sessions.
“Books and reading are lifelines for so many, providing escapism and meaning in difficult times. We’re really proud to continue to provide a service, in the heart of our community.”
Find out more about Hull Libraries here.