Putney And Other Libraries Thrive On Line

Virtual services offered during lockdown see some audiences rising tenfold

With all 11 of Wandsworth’s branch libraries forced to close their doors by Government decree, the social enterprise that runs the borough’s libraries GLL, has massively expanded its range of online services, providing support and relief for families enduring the lockdown.

On some online platforms, including twitter and facebook, audiences have grown tenfold - just under 1,000 per cent!

Librarians have shown their creative sides by turning their gardens, kitchens and living rooms into unlikely film studios for story times, rhyme and sign, and craft sessions for children - receiving up to 2,600 views per video.

Putney children’s librarian, Kate Stevens told PutneySW15: " I’m currently working at Putney (boiler work being done), so can broadcast live from Putney Library (10am Monday), providing a familiar place at this time for any Putney Rhyme Time regulars who tune in. It was a little strange, at first, doing Online Rhyme Time, but I love it, it is a great way to keep “in touch” with Putney Library’s customer base right now, and the whole family can join in, too!"

And for adults, there are more online video craft sessions, alongside virtual walks, poetry readings and podcasts.

Since lockdown, Wandsworth’s librarians have made 85 facebook videos which have been viewed 29,873 times.

The increase in its online presence means Wandsworth Libraries now have nearly 1,300 friends on facebook and 2,300 followers on twitter. The full online programme is available online.

The council’s cabinet member for community services Cllr Steffi Sutters, pictured above, said: “I am thrilled that our libraries have been able to play such a prominent role supporting families in Wandsworth throughout the lockdown.

“They have offered our residents a real lifeline over the past few weeks and have shown great imagination and endeavour in coming up with exciting new ways of reaching out to people and making sure they can benefit from their many different services. Our libraries staff have done a fantastic job and should be congratulated for all their efforts.”

Kate Stevens said of the new new YouTube channel: "All the Children’s Librarians’ Rhyme Times stay up on the Wandsworth Librarians’ Facebook page, and we launched a YouTube channel a week ago (link below), so our broadcasts will be available to view anytime anyone wants to join in with me or a colleague, or just lift the mood with a bit of signing."

W andsworth Library online customers can choose from audio books, E-books, E-newspapers and E-magazines - all for free - spanning everything from popular fiction for adults, children and teens alike to non-fiction including cookery, gardening and technology publications. Also on offer are free music downloads and streams from a choice of over 15 million songs and playlists ranging from opera and classical music to jazz, rock and pop.

The full online programme - ‘Better at Home’ covers a range of free health and well-being activities, including craft clubs and virtual exercise classes at https://www.better.org.uk/exercise-at-home.

Families looking for activities to enjoy together at home can visit https://www.better.org.uk/lp/fun-activities-for-kids-at-home.

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May 8, 2020