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Press Release

Govt invests in additional 5,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks in response to increased demand for online public library service – Minister Ring

Published: 26 March 2020
From: Department of Rural and Community Development

€200,000 investment made as libraries register big jump in online memberships

Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, has announced a fund of €200,000 to support the provision of an additional 5,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks in order to meet the significant increase in demand for access to the public library online service during the COVID-19 crisis.

The funding is directed through the Local Government Management Agency which administers the online library system.

Announcing the funding, Minister Ring said,

“Even though you physically can’t go into our libraries at the moment, the library service is still very much available to people online. In fact, we have had a big upsurge in demand for our online library service since our libraries closed their doors.
“To ensure that the online stock could meet the increase in demand I have approved €200,000 to provide an additional 5,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks to the online collection.”

You can join your library here.

In the week following the closure of the public libraries, over 7,300 people registered for the Borrowbox service which provides eBooks and Audiobooks to library members, almost as many as had joined since the start of the year up to that point.

There were also 25,521 eBooks downloaded from 13th to 19th March, a more than threefold increase on the previous week. During that same week there were over 26,000 eAudiobook downloads, more than double the previous week.

Minister Ring continued:

“Our public libraries began innovating as soon as our branches were closed to the public. We removed the requirement for people to have to go to their library to join. This can now be done fully online so people will have immediate access to the online services.
“I want to assure everyone that my Department is taking every possible action to prepare for the challenges we are facing and that our libraries can continue to benefit people during this period.”

Public libraries provide users with a wide range of free online services including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, online courses, online languages and online newspapers. All resources can be accessed online via elibrary

Online services can be accessed by downloading the following apps:

• BorrrowBox – 30,313 e-books and 22,781 e-audiobooks via the libraries BorrowBox App.

• RBdigital – Latest editions of over 350 international magazines including Hello!, Woman’s Own, The Economist, Time Magazine etc.

• PressReader – provides more than 3,200 newspapers from over 100 countries worldwide including the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner, Sligo Champion and Daily Telegraph.

• Transparent Language - provides courses in 114 different languages, together with English courses for speakers of 32 different languages.

• Universal Class – which is available via Universal Class provides over 500 e-learning courses including computer classes and alternative medicine.

All of these services can be accessed by signing in with your library card number. You can phone your local library if your card is out of date or if you need any assistance. Contact details are available on Libraries Ireland .

In addition to these online services, public library staff are continuing to work in the branches providing a range of services that include:

• telephone services including technical support for members, from membership queries to borrowing options, and providing advice on the status of library operations,

• Facebook Live story times,

• printables for colouring,

• access to printed Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection forms and

• links to local Volunteer Centres, local Garda Síochána and Family Resource Centres to promote services to our isolated individuals and older people.


Notes to the Editor

Online public library services during Coronavirus

You can join the library online and get eBooks, eAudiobooks, online magazines and newspapers for free straight away, or even take language and other courses. Here's how!

Join online

  • To join the library online, fill out this form with your name, address, email and some other details.
  • Click, 'Submit' and you'll be taken to a new page that gives you a 'Temporary' library barcode.
  • This will be your library number and you need it to access online services so save it somewhere or write it down and keep it safe.
  • This page will also instruct you to 'set a PIN' and will give you a link to do that.
  • Once you've set your PIN and you have your library number, you're all ready to access all the online services.

We've included short guides to getting and using these services below.

How to use Borrowbox for eBooks and Audiobooks

You can download the Borrowbox app or find your library here to get directed to the web version.

Then you just:

  • choose your library from the dropdown menu;
  • enter your library number where it asks for your ID/Barcode; and,
  • enter your PIN where it asks for PIN/Password.

That's it, you're signed in and ready to browse and read!

For any support queries, please contact support@bolindadigital.com

How to use RB Digital for online magazines

You can use the RBDigital app or visit online

You will have to register for a free account, with your library number. To do this:

  • Click ‘register’
  • Select your country and then select your library service (some library services have their own accounts with RB Digital so you may have two options - for magazines and Transparent Languages, you need to choose the option that has ‘LGMA’ above it)
  • Enter your library card number
  • Create a username
  • Enter a password

That's it, you're all set up!

For any support queries please rbdigital@wfhowes.co.uk

How to use PressReader for online newspapers

You can access PressReader at pressreader.com or by downloading the PressReader app for Apple or Android devices.

You will need to log in with your library number, here's how

  • Press ‘sign in’
  • Select the ‘Library and groups’ option
  • A list of libraries will then open from which you can choose your library. Simply start typing your county or local authority areas and you should find it easily. Look out for the Libraries Ireland logo.
  • You will then be asked to enter your library card number.

That’s it – you’re now logged in and ready to read!

Your login grants you 30 days access initially. When this 30 days has expired a new period can be started simply by logging out and back in using the same method.

For any support queries, please pressreader@wfhowes.co.uk

How to use Transparent Languages for language learning

Transparent Languages can be accessed through the RB Digital - see above to find out how to do that.

Once you're logged in to RB Digital, you'll see a link to Transparent Languages. Click that and you'll be taken to the service.

For any support queries please rbdigital@wfhowes.co.uk

How to use Universal Class for online courses

To use Universal Class, go to UniversalClass.com and enter your library number

Then register as a new user and start learning!

For any support queries, please universalclass@wfhowes.co.uk