The physical Sidney-North Saanich branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library may be closed because of COVID-19, but the pandemic has increased demand for digital services. (Black Press Media file).

Pandemic drives record demand for Vancouver Island digital library offerings

Additional services to come online in the future

COVID-19 has sparked demand for the digital library services the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) offers.

Speaking during Sidney’s council meeting, Coun. Barbara Fallot said check out of digital and audio books hit an all-time high on April 1 with 2,285 check-outs.

“It’s anticipated that increased use of digital borrowing will continue as more users are adapting their habits,” she said.

Users are streaming more than 100 additional movies and TV series daily, while checking out an additional 134 e-books and 50 digital magazine daily, she added later.

All VIRL branches temporarily closed on March 16 because of COVID-19, leading to 92 per cent of staff being laid-off, with the expectation that numerous positions would be recalled as VIRL develops alternative services, the public heard.

RELATED: Greater Victoria libraries shut doors until further notice

RELATED: Vancouver Island Regional Library issues notices of layoff to most staff

RELATED: Sidney wasn’t and isn’t considering leaving current library system, says mayor

The pandemic-related closure saw the system make additional investments into digital content providers such as OverDrive (e-books), Kanopy (classic movies, independent movies and documentaries), RBDigital (books and magazines) and Acorn TV (British-themed television), Fallot said, adding that existing vendors made additional material available at no cost.

COVID-19 has also led to other changes in the library’s infrastructure. Instead of physically being present in a branch, would-be users can now sign up for a library card online.

“Within the first three weeks, 842 new cards were registered,” she said.

VIRL has also started virtual story hours for children, as well as seniors, with senior homes in Sidney participating, said Fallot, adding that the library is currently looking into producing senior-related content.

RELATED: Tablet donation connects Saanich Peninsula seniors to family and friends

VIRL also shared its resources with two Vancouver Island school districts and five First Nations communities, Fallot said, noting that local First Nations had not yet responded to the offer.

Fallot, who represents Sidney on VIRL’s board of trustees, offered the update after participating in a virtual board meeting Saturday, April 25 after COVID-19 cancelled the board’s scheduled March meeting.

Ultimately, Fallot predicts that the pandemic will have a lasting effect on VIRL.

“As with every other organization around the world, whether it’s private business, government organizations, or even family and friends, COVID-19 has both pushed the pause button, as well as the fast-forward button,” she said. “How we do things now shape how we do things going forward.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Victoria man collects 28 bags of trash along two-kilometre stretch of highway

20-year-old spent 12 hours collecting garbage near Thetis Lake

Indigenous B.C. tour operator keeps culture alive through virtual journeys in COVID-19 era

Campbell River based Homalco Tours is also in the process of setting up live cameras for bear viewing in Orford

New exhibit at Point Ellice House examines history of waste, water and privilege

Night soil scavengers in the 19th century would collect human waste and dump it around the city

Extension given for Cowichan region homeless tenting sites

Meeting with BC Housing to determine the next step

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Seven-foot-tall Nanaimo resident helps man in distress in Departure Bay

Peters able to wade out far enough to help ‘frantic’ man in the water

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Most Read