Minister visits Bournemouth to hear how libraries have adapted during the pandemic

Posted on Monday 28 September 2020

Maintaining library services online throughout lockdown and the redeployment of library staff to support the Council’s Together We Can community response efforts are just some of the achievements highlighted during a visit by Libraries Minister, Caroline Dinenage to Bournemouth Library today (Monday 28 September).

During a walk and talk around the library facilities, the Minister heard how the library's services had received national recognition for its online services during lockdown. Access to E-books and audio has seen a 156% increase on last year as residents turned to online resources whilst at home. More than 70 library staff were redeployed to help support vulnerable residents and the popular home library service was reintroduced in June for more than 500 residents.

Councillor Vikki Slade, Acting Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Leisure and Communities, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister to Bournemouth and to discuss the efforts of the library service and staff during the pandemic. We are really proud of our library service, which, for many residents is a lifeline within their community, particularly at this time. It was essential that local people could access services online during lockdown and then safely reopen all 24 across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, in a phased approach during the summer.”

There was also discussion about how the library service is adapting to change for the future. Councillor Slade, added: “Now more than ever, the library service plays an important role as the front door of the council. Our priority is to further develop our libraries to become the centre point of our communities where local residents can easily access a range of services and be supported to engage with digital information.”

Libraries Minister, Caroline Dinenage, said:

"I am hugely impressed by the way that libraries like this one have adapted during these challenging times to meet the changing needs of their users. Libraries are a vital source of culture and play an important role in communities. It was brilliant to hear about the ways Bournemouth Library has continued to deliver essential services to local people."

The library service supports the council’s priorities of fulfilled lives and connected communities. Empowering our communities so everyone feels safe, engaged and involved.