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The closure of public libraries across Scotland has prompted an appeal for people not to give up on books but to get online.
The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) said there are many free online public libraries offering e-books, online newspapers, downloadable music, games and e-audiobooks.
Details of how to access services are often found on public library service websites including Oban’s which includes services at both https://argyll-bute.spydus.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/WPAC/JOIN and https://liveargyll.co.uk/borrowbox/
Online material is available for a range of ages and interests including children’s educational resources, fiction and non-fiction, reference material and adult reader development resources, said SLIC.
Hundreds of librarians and library staff across Scotland are working remotely with many offering an online membership application for those without a library card, it said. Several library services are also offering support via telephone or social media.
SLIC said the digital switch is a good idea for children and teenagers not attending school as well as people who can use reading to combat mental health issues from social isolation.
Pamela Tulloch, chief executive at SLIC, said: ‘Closing the doors to public libraries is counter intuitive to everything they stand for.
‘Fortunately, modern technology means libraries remain accessible and librarians across Scotland are working hard to keep in touch with communities.
‘The nature of online resources varies between services across the country, but all of them are going the extra mile at the moment to make sure people know what’s available and how to access it.’
Kathleen Milne, libraries manager at Western Isles Libraries, has launched online book clubs on Twitter and Facebook to maintain contact with local library users.
She said: ‘We’ve never hosted an online book club and we thought, now is the time to do it. Good mental health is just as valuable as good physical health and being mentally active and having a community connection during a time like this can be a real lifeline for some.’