Library doors may be closed but avid readers in Dorset are turning to eBooks and audio items in droves.

eBooks and audio books issued by Dorset Libraries peaked at almost 26,000 in April, an increase of 75 per cent on same period last year.

The increase in Dorset is part of a national surge in eBook library loans, with recent figures showing a dramatic increase in people accessing digital titles across library services in England during the coronavirus lockdown as the nation seeks comfort in eBooks.

Cllr Anthony Alford, Dorset Council cabinet member for customer, community and regulatory services, said: “The libraries in Dorset reluctantly closed their doors on March 20, but the latest figures shows you don't have to walk through the doors to be a library enthusiast.

“Thanks to easy-to-use digital services with support to get online, residents are enjoying reading digital books, audiobooks and even comics.

“Our virtual library service has gone from strength to strength, with thousands of eBooks, eNewspapers and eMagazines loaned and downloaded by people staying at home, up by nearly 50 per cent since lockdown began."

As a result, the council has invested in the service to increase the number of available titles with more than 800 new eBooks and 1,400 new audio books.

There’s now more choice, with more being added each week.

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All you need to access these digital services and resources for free are your library card number and email address.

If you’re not already a member you can join online at