Poll highlights libraries’ perseverance and success in restoring vital digital services
A poll undertaken by library software company, Lorensbergs, finds that over 70% of UK library authorities had restored public PC access to users by early September. This access has been relied upon by jobseekers, benefit claimants and many others for digital and social inclusion.
Nearly 100 library authorities took part in the poll to share knowledge and approaches to reopening services post lockdown, and it provides a useful benchmark on all that’s been achieved. It represents how it’s been necessary for library authorities to respond according to the guidelines and different circumstances of their local areas, and offers insight into the public’s responses to the changes experienced.
The People’s Network is an important resource for all library authorities, with 70% of libraries considering PC access to be an essential service for their communities. The poll highlights how libraries have been diligent in their approach to prioritising hygiene and minimising coronavirus risks while providing this service.
Nearly 80% of library services are now providing library Wi-Fi. Print services are also becoming more widely available, with 65% of library authorities now offering this service.
Anna Crilly, Lorensbergs’ Managing Director, commented: “These poll results really demonstrate our libraries’ commitment to supporting users with essential PC and printing services during the pandemic. These are resources that the digitally excluded have absolutely depended upon becoming available again after lockdown.
“We still have some way to go, around half of those libraries offering PC access are yet to provide it in all branches. We’re here to support our customers and help them find the best way to safely restore these services.”
Other challenges in offering PC services include the need for users to book their timeslot ahead so staff can manage library footfall and cleaning. Users also need to make do with shorter sessions, as workstation numbers have been reduced to maintain social distancing measures. Even still, PC users are often the longest library visitors, undertaking life critical tasks in the library and securing essential services that are now only possible online.
The results from the poll are available to download here.
About Lorensbergs (www.lorensbergs.co.uk)
Lorensbergs offers a range of market-leading software solutions with expert advice to match. Our range of intelligent and customisable PC booking and online booking solutions, netloan and connect2, have been designed to streamline booking processes and improve efficiencies in libraries and local authorities, universities and colleges. Lorensbergs offers consultancy services and training, working closely with customers to enhance service provision for library, university and public service users and patrons.