NPR: “If you find yourself scrambling for a good novel to escape the novel coronavirus, you’re not alone. Across the country, libraries have seen demand skyrocket for their electronic offerings, but librarians say they continue to worry about the digital divide and equality in access — not to mention the complicated questions that must be answered before they can reopen for physical lending.
“Since the library closed on March 16, we’ve had about seven thousand people register for library cards,” says Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director for the District of Columbia Public Libraries. “We’ve had over 300,000 books borrowed since mid-March, which is astounding considering that our collections are limited.” By the library’s accounting, that’s 37% higher than the same period in 2019, and DC isn’t alone in an uptake in digital usage: Weekly library e-book lending across the country has increased by nearly 50 percent since March 9, according to data from OverDrive, a service used by many libraries to let patrons check out media for e-readers, smartphones and computers. Audiobook check-outs are also up 14% — not quite as large a shift, likely because fewer people are in their cars commuting to work…”