Whakatāne Library staff have been busy during the lockdown, rolling out a new opportunity for all library members to access free audio books. Collections and Content Coordinator Christine Whalley says it’s important for library members to know they can still access some of the same services – just in different ways.

“For some of our members, visiting the library is a real focal point for their week and we didn’t want that change during Alert Level 4,” she says. “We can still provide books to borrowers; if you take a look at the Whakatāne Library website, there is a huge range of audio books and e-books available.”

For example, Ulverscroft is a British book supplier that has been providing large print books to libraries for over fifty years. During the worldwide pandemic, the company decided ‘the escapism provided by literature is needed more than ever’ and has offered its customer libraries – including Whakatāne – free access to audiobooks until 31 July 2020. The books are suitable for all ages and reading stages, with a wide variety of genres.

Ulverscroft enables simultaneous loans, meaning that more than one person can borrow the same title at the same time. Mrs Whalley suggests this offers a great opportunity for library members to set up an online book club, or discover and discuss the same book with friends and whanau over Skype.

Joining ULibrary is easy. Simply download the app from either Google Play or the app store and follow the instructions that will be emailed to you. More information on ULibrary and the link can be found by following Whakatāne Library on Facebook.

Mrs Whalley says following Whakatane Library on social media is an excellent way to keep up with all library-related news and events, and some hilarious content posted by library staff.

“We’d love to connect with all our customers, and potential customers – then we can let you know exactly what we are up to during the lockdown,” she says. “Just because you can’t come in to your local library, doesn’t mean we’re not hard at work making reading a wonderful experience for everyone.”