Since the first lockdown began, around 4,000 people across Cornwall have joined their local library, the county council has said.

When the first lockdown came into force in March 2020 the library service saw a 104% increase in e-book downloads compared to the previous month and a 39% increase in e-audio downloads.

In October the number of free newspaper and magazine downloads reached 60,000 – a 100% rise compared to February.

The council says there are many other free online library resources: library members can research their family history, read a comic, or even learn a foreign language.

Cllr Edwina Hannaford, portfolio holder for libraries, said: “It’s great to see so many people in Cornwall have discovered or re-discovered the library, the joy of reading, and the huge mental health benefits associated with it.

“We know that home schooling can be really difficult for both parents and children and having access to online library resources could be a huge help for many families over the coming weeks.”

The Government recognises that libraries provide an ‘essential service’ to local communities. Some libraries in Cornwall are offering click and collect services during lockdown, although due to a Covid incidence Falmouth Library is now closed for the safety of its customers and staff. All covid protocols are adhered to, including the quarantining of books before lending.

Access to public network computers is available in some branches with usage limited to those who are vulnerable and in need.

In line with current Government guidance, where the library building allows, members of the public will not need to go inside to collect their books. Instead reserved items can be collected from the library entrance.

Library and non library members can sign up to the library service free of charge on the Cornwall Council website here