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Richmond Hill Public Library expands digital service amid coronavirus crisis

Almost 10,000 more eBooks have been checked out during the closure compared to same time last year
April 29, 2020
Shelia Wang

At least some of us will come out wiser on the other side when the pandemic is over.

More than 33,000 people have dived into the Richmond Hill Public Library’s electronic resources from March 14 to April 14 during the closure of the branches due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to the press release on April 27.

These virtual library-goers have been checking out eBooks, listening to eAudiobooks, and reading news online while hunkering down at home to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

They’ve checked out more than 24,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks through Overdrive and Hoopla, a spike by almost 10,000 over the same period of last year, statistics show.

The sharp increase in online usage took place after the local public library launched a series of innovative measures utilizing its online resources to help residents stay connected across the York Region municipalities.

“We’ve become much more than just books in the past few decades, and there are so many ways we can help our community during this time,” Interim CEO Yunmi Hwang said in a press release on April 27.

Hwang assumed the role on Feb. 26, following the retirement of former CEO Louise Procter Maio last November after seven years of service.

The library has been offering free learning apps, online programming, downloadable books as well as issuing digital library cards since the closure on March 13.

From March 14 to April 14, the library has drawn nearly 400 new users and more than 1,000 renewed cards during the closure.

Online readership of electronic newspapers and magazines at the library has almost doubled from the same period last year to more than 10,000, statistics show.

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