Library service goes online to meet your needs in the lockdown

The challenge to keep occupied during the Coronavirus lockdown period is ongoing, but many local organisations have risen to that challenge and are providing online materials and activities so that we can all continue to observe social distancing rules.

By Melinda Gillen
Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 2:29 pm

One of those bodies is Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Library Service.

Libraries manager Kathleen Milne described what her department has been up to over the last few weeks.

She said: “We have set up a new section of our website – – to try to bring together all the resources we have that people can access from home. This includes: eBooks and eAudio Books which are all available free to library members.

Sign up to our daily Stornoway Gazette Today newsletter

“They can access them via a PC, laptop, phone or tablet via the apps available.

“We have started online reading groups as well, one for adults and another for children and families.”

Other online resources include ‘Find My Past’, and ‘Medici TV’.

Medici TV has offered free membership due to the current situation and they have a wealth of opera, classical music and ballet performances people can watc h from home.

Kathleen continued: “We are also trialling a FREE month with PressReader.

“It is hugely expensive so we may not be able to buy for more than a year, but until the end of May people can see how they like it.

“They can get access to over a hundred magazines and newspapers online, including car magazines, fashion, hobbies, etc

“We are also doing weekly live activities for children and families.

“Legolockdown sets a challenge every week, and we have now launched Scratch That!, a weekly coding activity for children.

“Our weekly Saturday storytime is going well, the last one has now received over 1.1k views on Facebook.

“All these are promoted via our Facebook page @westernisleslibraries.”

For those that do not have access to online – Stornoway Community Council recently came across this problem when volunteering in the community – and was able to help the person concerned, however, the Comhairle are also considering steps to tackle this issue and are hoping to organise something for this section of the community in the near future.

Perhaps books drops may be something that could be trialed, however, of course, this will be dependent on feasibility and users’ safety.

In the meantime, anyone who wants to join the eLibrary can get in touch at: [email protected]