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Harry Potter is still the book people want to read in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 10:02 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:24 21 May 2020

Norfolks libraries have seen a surge in online borrowing and people accessing digital resources during lockdown. Picture: Getty

Norfolks libraries have seen a surge in online borrowing and people accessing digital resources during lockdown. Picture: Getty

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Harry Potter has proved as popular as ever during lockdown, as it is revealed that Norfolk’s libraries have seen a surge in online borrowing and people accessing digital resources.

Unable to borrow harcopy of books from libraries people in Norfolk have been making use of the library service's extensive eBook collection. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/MaskaRadUnable to borrow harcopy of books from libraries people in Norfolk have been making use of the library service's extensive eBook collection. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/MaskaRad

The county’s libraries may be closed for the time being, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from turning to them for entertainment, trusted information and a good read.

Ebook downloads were up 63pc on the previous year during April, while the number of people using Norfolk Library service’s eBook service jumped 80pc and more than 2,000 people signed up to use the library in March.

Children’s downloads increased by a staggering 315pc in April, with the most popular title being an audio book of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

There were also 2,688 downloads from the library service’s new eBook club reading collection, with the most popular title being Matt Haig’s “Reasons to Stay Alive” – a memoir of how the author overcame crisis, triumphed over a mental illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

Margaret Dewsbury, chair of Norfolk County Council's communities committee. Pic: Sean Owen (Reflective Arts)Margaret Dewsbury, chair of Norfolk County Council's communities committee. Pic: Sean Owen (Reflective Arts)

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But it’s not just books, unable to host events, libraries have taken their day to day activities online too with films of sessions run for babies, children and young people having been viewed more than 172,000 times.

Figures also show people have not only been turning to libraries for the solace of a good book but also trusted information with the number of people using Britannica Online nearly doubling in April.

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “These statistics speak for themselves - books and reading have obviously been incredibly important to people during lockdown and we’ve even seen hundreds more people join us online.

“We’ve also found new and creative ways of connecting people with our service and keeping them in touch with each other.

“I’m very proud of the way Norfolk Libraries have supported their communities during this difficult period - and the way our teams have worked so hard to ensure our libraries are as accessible online as they would be in person.”

• To find out what’s going on at Norfolk Libraries, explore their online resources and find information on how to join, visit: www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries


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