Vancouver Island Regional Library has signed up more thant 1,300 new members since it launched its online card registration March 17. (File photo)

COVID-19: Interest in digital offerings soars in Vancouver Island libraries

More than 1,300 people sign up for online membership

Since suspending all in-branch services in March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, eBooks and eAudiobooks have been increasingly popular for the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

The VIRL has placed more focus on promoting and expanding its digital offerings. It includes increasing the number of always-available eBook and eAudiobook titles; offfering Wi-Fi services, in most cases 24/7, outside all VIRL branches; increasing access to the popular streaming TV and film platforms Kanopy and AcornTV; and promoting VIRL’s platforms and resources across all channels and to community partners.

Since VIRL launched its online card registration March 27, more than 1,300 new people have signed up for membership.

READ MORE: Libraries still ofering services to cardholders

As a result, VIRL saw a 50 per cent increase in eBook borrowing; a 30-per-cent increase in eAudiobook borrowing; 19-per-cent increase in digital magazines checked out each day; 15-per-cent increase in movies, TV shows and music streamed daily; and 15-per-cent increase in the use of online learning through Lynda.com.

VIRL’s two most popular eBook and eAudiobook platforms — Overdrive and RB Digital — have seen a spike of 132% in the average daily number of customers setting up accounts to download library content.

Notable trends in VIRL customer interests show that fiction far more popular than non-fiction while thrillers are the most popular genre of fiction. Romance and mystery follow closely behind.

The most read eBooks are:

1. The Alice Network

2. Where the Crawdads Sing

3. The Woman in the Window

4. The Good Daughter

5. Becoming The Kept Woman: Will Trent Series, Book 8

6. Past Tense: A Jack Reacher Novel

7. Little Women

8. Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone

9. Dark Sacred Night: Renee Ballard Series, Book 2

The most downloaded eAudiobooks are:

1. Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone

2. The Last Widow: Will Trent Series, Book 9

3. The Tattooist of Auschwitz

4. Beating About the Bush: Agatha Raisin Mystery Series, Book 30

5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

6. Everything I Never Told You

7. Becoming

8. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

9. Where the Crawdads Sing

10. The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

For online learning, the top five languages customers are interested in learning online with Mango Languages are French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian and Mandarin. While nine of the 10 most popular classes on Lynda.com focus on using and designing digital content. As well, 200 customers have completed a bookkeeping basics class through the eLibrary this year.

Since March 17, VIRL members are reading 19 per cent more online magazines and newspapers through our digital platforms.

There also has been a 15 per cent increase in the use of the library’s streaming platforms, which feature documentaries, British TV favourites, and a wide range of other video content. The most viewed TV show is the ‘Brokenwood Mysteries’ and the most viewed movie is ‘Renoir’.

– NEWS Staff, submitted

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