Edmonton Public Library sees demand soar for online books, classes and videos during pandemic

Digital offerings at the Edmonton Public Library saw a spike during 2020, according to the latest annual report.

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Digital offerings at the Edmonton Public Library saw a spike during 2020, according to the latest annual report.

As Edmontonians were asked to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, they turned to the online content the Edmonton Public Library offers. The report states that there was a 34 per cent increase in e-content usage and over five million digital resources borrowed last year.

There was a 110 per cent increase in e-videos checked out compared to 2019, as well as a 37 per cent increase in e-books.

There were 164,278 materials borrowed through library takeout and library express checkout and overall, 8.8 million items were borrowed.

As well, the library’s From Home videos were viewed over 1.1 million times. The series of virtual classes and events provided an accessible way to learn online and on demand.

There were a total of 10,642 library patrons who attended 582 live online classes and events in 2020, taking part in Cree language classes, digital book clubs and learning how to bake bread and cookies.

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The library also adapted its services to meet the needs of Edmontonians throughout the pandemic last year. During the summer, EPL on the Square, in partnership with the City of Edmonton, was launched. The initiative provided internet access and use of laptops. More than 1,300 customers attended programs offered through EPL on the Square.

Through epl2go Literacy Vans, 400 pop-up libraries, classes and events occurred last year.

In total there were 7,591,014 in-person and virtual visits, down 38 per cent from 2019. However, 15,165 new patrons signed up online for a library card.

ajunker@postmedia.com

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