LIBRARIES across West Berkshire have seen huge increases in people using its online borrowing services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite libraries closing on March 21, people are taking out loans on e-books, audiobooks, e-magazines and e-newspapers.

Library members get free access to resources allowing them to read newspapers and magazines, like the PressReader tool that launched in May last year.

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Councillor Rick Jones, lead for public health and community at West Berkshire Council, said: 

“Last year the e-library service was our third most used library, after Newbury and Thatcham libraries.

“It has moved up to second place, with only Newbury Library issuing more items. The council is committed to maintaining an excellent library service for all and, while the pandemic continues, we encourage you to make full use of the e-library service.” 

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The library service has started a new Facebook group called ‘West Berks Read’, a book club for people to talk about what they are reading.

During the lockdown people can still sign up online to be a member of the library, getting free access to the e-library. For existing members, libraries will not charge any fines on overdue books while they are temporarily closed.