Record activity for county library and arts service 

Record activity for county library and arts service 

Anna Kenneally, branch librarirn and Clare Fogarty, Library Assistant in Mallow, usng sterile wipes on books before packing them into boxes during the lockdown. Pic: Brian Lougheed

CORK County Council’s library and arts service has achieved record activity in 2020, with thousands of books delivered across communities in Cork during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the lockdown in March 2020, the council’s library service began delivering books to isolating and cocooning members of the community and a team of five library service drivers took to the roads launching the library housebound delivery service.

Initiated as part of the council’s Covid-19 Community Response Programme, the service provided 36,090 items to homes across the county in 2020.

To date, over 4,000 boxes have been delivered, with this figure growing daily as library staff continue to keep in contact with readers.

Cork county library branches also saw their combined membership increase from 59,024 in 2019 to 65,356 in 2020.

669,463 physical items from county branches were circulated, and 393,455 online resources were accessed by members, placing Cork county’s library outputs second in Ireland, after Dublin.

E-audiobooks and e-books also saw substantial increases in users, with the former rising by 86.7% and 103.8% respectively.

The library further rose to the challenges presented in 2020 by producing original content in the form of its library podcast for members and by adopting video conferencing platforms to deliver events, workshops, and meet-ups.

Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Mary Linehan Foley welcomed the ongoing success of the library service a year on from the changes.

“Cork County Council was quick to adapt to these changing circumstances, the work of library staff ensuring that the needs of the community were met has been nothing short of exemplary.

“As we approach the first anniversary of the council’s library housebound delivery service, it is clear to see that this resource has proved invaluable to the people of Cork county over the past 12 months.” chief executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey said:

“The publication of figures on Cork County Council’s library service reflects the vast array of services available, which were adapted rapidly in 2020 in order to safely serve our community during a time of great need.”

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