On World Book Day Hampshire libraries have much to offer
Tuesday, 05 March 2013
Hampshire County Council's libraries have more to offer than ever this World Book Day, (Thursday 7 March 2013).
The Library Service is continuing to embrace new technologies and is offering even more services to residents and library customers.
The County Council runs 49 libraries throughout the county and three Discovery Centres in Winchester, Gosport and Basingstoke. It also supports a community library at the Carroll Centre in Stanmore, Winchester. All of them provide a wide range of services from book loans, DVD and CD hire, to internet access, audiobooks and children's Rhymetime events. There are 6.4million visits every year and 7.3milion books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and games are issued annually.
In the year from 1 February 2012 to 31 January 2013 Hampshire's libraries issued almost 2.5 million children's books (2,496,261). This was an increase of 5% over the previous year (1 Feb 2011 to 31 Jan 2012).
A new magazine and newspaper service has been launched for people who are blind, partially sighted or have difficulty reading print. For the first time, anyone who is in this situation can now visit any Hampshire library or Discovery Centre and pick up over 150 audio versions of newspapers or magazines of their choice for free.
In recent years, to keep up with modern demands, Hampshire's Library Service has been investing in technology to offer further facilities. A number of libraries now include self-service terminals and Wi-Fi, and a wide range of online resources are now on offer in all branches.
Another popular addition has been magazines which are now available to borrow from 25 libraries, and will soon be on offer in the majority of Hampshire libraries. Since their introduction in April 2012, there have been over 13,000 items checked out, including titles such as Vogue, Empire, BBC Good Food, Lonely Planet, What Car? and Practical Photographer.
Loans of orchestra sets and vocal scores, used by local orchestral and choral groups, have also increased. The introduction of the new automated booking system ensures that customers in Hampshire and in other Library authorities can access the stock quickly and easily. Hampshire is now one of the largest public library suppliers of orchestra sets and vocal scores in the South East region, providing just over a thousand sets a year. The most popular titles include -
Faure: Requiem, (choral set)
Handel: Messiah, (both choral and orchestral sets)
Vivaldi: Gloria, (choral set)
Mozart: Requiem, (choral set)
Haydn: Mass in C, (orchestral set)
Coates: Dambusters march, (orchestral set)
Then Hayden: Mass in D, Britten: St Nicholas, Mozart: Coronation Mass, Parry: I Was Glad, Mendelssohn: Elijah
The popularity reflects the anniversary of the Accession and Britten's centenary.
Learner drivers can even use their local library to practice for their theory test with an online version of the Highway Code and realistic hazard perception video simulations. This is just one of many e-resources and tools available in libraries for children and adults, some of which can also be accessed remotely from library customers' home computers.
With sales of eBook readers on the increase, libraries now offer free loans of up to three eBooks at a time, which can all be downloaded and accessed online from the Hampshire Libraries website.
Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman, said: "Hampshire has one of the largest library services in the whole of the UK and offers so much more than many people realise. Libraries and Discovery Centres are a great resource for local residents, not only as a place to read, but also as a platform for encouraging knowledge, creativity and socialising.
"As people's needs evolve, so will our Library Service, so that we are continuing to bring new and improved services to everyone in Hampshire."
Library members can now download the Hampshire Library iPhone app to manage their accounts from their phone.