BOOKWORMS have embraced North Yorkshire County Council’s online library service during coronavirus lockdown.

Library branches closed last month temporarily to support the drive to slow the spread of Covid-19.

In the first fortnight of the lockdown, 474 people joined the library remotely, an increase of 490 per cent compared to the previous two weeks.

Over the same period, 14,383 e-books and e-audio books were issued, a 46 per cent increase.

There were 28,502 hits on the library service’s extensive online resources, use of the online Encyclopaedia Britannica was up more than 2,000 per cent and the number of people accessing online newspapers and magazines also saw a huge increase.

As parents look for educational resources to support home learning during school closures, Ziptales, has also seen more use.

It features interactive stories with voiceovers, animation, games and quizzes to make reading fun for children.

The library service anticipated an increase in demand, so has added 1,400 new copies of e-books to its stock.

It has also introduced a new e-audio book platform, BorrowBox, to extend choice.

BorrowBox launched this week with an initial 1,200 titles from best-selling authors.

The BorrowBox app is available from the App Store and Google Play.

Remote access has also been arranged for library members to two popular family history resources, and Find My Past.

Usually, these can be used only in libraries, but at the moment library members can log on to them at home to begin or continue their family history studies.

County Councillor Greg White, executive member for libraries, said: “We know how much people in North Yorkshire value their libraries.

"While branches must be closed to help to combat the spread of Covid-19, it’s heartening to see that more people than ever are discovering and enjoying the wide range of online material we offer.

“We want to support people as much as possible during this time.

"That’s why we have added the extra stock and opened up more services for home use and why our staff are working online to continue to engage with families in the many library activities.”

Neil Irving, assistant director policy, partnerships and communities, added: “Library staff who can’t do their normal job at the moment are making a real contribution to the pandemic response.

"They are among county council employees who are working to support communities during this period, supporting the council’s Stronger Communities work and delivering vital supplies as well as assisting the customer services team in answering calls and contacting vulnerable people.”

Digital library services can be found at A library card number and PIN number is required. To join, call 01609-533878.