6 ways to use Norfolk libraries while in lockdown
PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:00 03 April 2020
Library branches across Norfolk are closed until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak – but luckily there are still plenty of services you can access from home.
On Saturday, March 21 library buildings across Norfolk closed their doors and, due to social distancing measures and the subsequent lockdown, they haven’t yet re-opened.
The Millenium Library is one of the busiest libraries in the country and it’s an unprecedented time for service users who rely on it. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways you can access the service from the comfort and safety of your own home.
“While our library buildings may be temporarily closed due to coronavirus, our Library and Information Service still has so much to offer, from eBooks, livestreamed activities for children, IT help and more,” says Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for communities.
“If you’re not already a library member, you can still join the library service online and you will be sent a library card in the post. So sign up today to make use of these brilliant resources.”
Here’s all you need to know about the services on offer.
ELECTRONIC BOOKS, AUDIO, NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
You can download six eBooks straight away through the Libby App and read thousands of newspapers and magazines for free using the RBdigital and PressReader apps. To access both of these, you simply need a library card number and PIN.
To find out more, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/ebooks
JOIN AN ONLINE BOOK GROUP
If you’re missing your book group or chatting about books with friends, why not join a virtual one? The Norfolk Borrowers Facebook group allows you to share what you’re reading with others and get lots of new recommendations.
You can also check out the new eBook collection for Book Clubs with 25 titles carefully chosen by library staff. Over the coming weeks, the library service will be featuring a new book each week and inviting anyone at home to send in your comments whether you’re a book club member or not.
KEEP THE KIDS BUSY
There’s lots of content for all ages on the eBook apps, including picture books like Scaredy Squirrel to longer novels like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. You can also access the latest Beano, along with lots of other fun children’s magazine, using the PressReader app.
And while people can’t join the staff in the library for their regular groups and activities, you can online. The team are now running Storytime activities every weekday at 12noon, a Brick Builders Club every Wednesday at 4pm and much-loved Bounce and Rhyme Time every Tuesday at 10am – the first Bounce and Rhyme video has over 21,000 views and saw parents and children joining in from across the country!
Next week, the team will also be launching a new reading challenge to help kids stay busy throughout April.
STAY IN GOOD HEALTH
The library offers plenty of health and wellbeing information to help you during the coronavirus outbreak, including the Reading Well website which has lots of booklists to help you understand and manage your health and wellbeing. Book lists are currently available for adults, young people and children at reading-well.org.uk.
You can also browse more lists in the ‘discover more’ section of the Healthy Libraries Catalogue which includes titles in both eBook and eAudio format.
RESEARCH THE PAST
You can access historic newspapers, reference collections and dictionaries on the Norfolk libraries’ website (www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries-local-history-and-archives/libraries/library-services/online-resources), as well over 20,000 images of local life on the Picture Norfolk website at www.norfolk.gov.uk/libraries-local-history-and-archives/photo-collections/picture-norfolk
The team is also continuing to upload new episodes to the Norfolk Heritage Centre Podcast, which has lots of talks and interviews on a wide range of topics relating to Norfolk’s history.
Until April 30, the library service will also be offering free access to the genealogical website Findmypast – although it’s worth noting that if you are a regular user of the site, some services will be different. You can access a maximum of 5,000 records in any calendar month. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org
BRUSH UP ON TECH
If you’re interested in IT and have some time to spare, take a look at the free courses on offer in partnership with Cisco. There are hundreds of hours of free learning available and subjects include everything from the Internet of Things to cybersecurity and networking. Find out more at www.norfolk.gov.uk/ITcourses
Learn My Way also offers free online courses to help people develop their digital skills, from online shopping to video calling. It’s simple to register, either with an email or phone number, and your ‘centre’ is your local Norfolk library.