What is digital borrowing? And why is it more popular than ever in Suffolk

The number of eBooks and eAudiobooks being loaned from Suffolk's libraries are increasing Picture: S

The number of eBooks and eAudiobooks being loaned from Suffolk's libraries are increasing Picture: SUFFOLK LIBRARIES - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Libraries has seen a huge increase in the amount of digital resources being used by visitors, but what actually is digital borrowing?

Bruce Leeke chief executive of Suffolk Libraries Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bruce Leeke chief executive of Suffolk Libraries Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

What is digital borrowing?

Digital borrowing refers to the range of services offered by Suffolk Libraries online.

These include eBooks, eAudiobooks, music downloads, digital magazines and newspapers.

What has happened?


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Suffolk Libraries has revealed that in the past five years eBook and eAudiobook loans have risen by 151%.

The news comes after data revealed that the number of physical book loans from Suffolk libraries had been dropping over the same period.

According to Suffolk Libraries the total number of loans across all the formats offered by the library has increased by 2.5% in the past year alone.

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One area of real growth has been eAudio books: loans of these have increased by 50% in the last year.

What is there to access?

Suffolk Libraries subscribes to a number of different services:

- Overdrive - Provides access to eBooks and eAudio books

- Borrowbox - Another eAudio books provider

- Freegal - Free streaming and downloadable music

- Press Reader - Free access to electronic newspapers and magazines

- Kanopy - An upcoming service which offers access to independent films and documentaries (limited to 10 a month)

-eReaders and iPads - A number of Suffolk's libraries iPads and eReaders which visitors can loan out as well. A full list of which libraries offer this service can be found on the Suffolk Libraries website.

How can I access it?

All the services mentioned above can be accessed by the eLibrary on the Suffolk Libraries website.

From there, users need only to use their Suffolk Libraries card to be able to access the material and have no need to visit a physical building.

Do the loans work like physical book loans?

A loan period for the eBooks and eAudiobooks from Overdrive and Borrowbox is three weeks, just like a normal book loan.

After three weeks the titles will expire automatically but you can renew them or return them earlier if you want to take something else out.

Another similarity is that like physical books Suffolk Libraries only has a limited number copies of each eBook for people to take out.

What do library chiefs think?

Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries said:"We are seeing an enormous growth in digital transactions.

"This year we launched a new product called Pressreader, which provides access to almost every national and international newspaper online. In less than a year 7,000 people are now using this service and have read 531,000 articles from 195,000 magazine and newspaper issues.

"This is typical of the surge in use that we have seen across most digital formats. We will be adding an exciting new service soon too - Kanopy, which will allow library users to watch classic cinema, indie films and documentaries online.

"The future of libraries lies in developing meaningful experiences onsite, and digital services that offer more choice and are easier to access, matching the expectations created by the likes of Amazon."

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