RECORD numbers of people have signed up to join Oxfordshire's libraries during lockdown.

A total of 589 signed up online in April, an 86 per cent increase on the same month in 2019.

Loans of eBooks and eAudio loans have nearly doubled compared to this time last year, with more than 22,000 items borrowed from the county’s online library last month.

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Oxfordshire County Council, which runs libraries, has doubled its investment in purchasing eBooks and eAudio to support the new demand.

Councillor Lorraine Lindsay-Gale said: "We are looking forward to Oxfordshire’s 44 libraries being able to open their doors once more because they are a much valued part of day to day life in the communities they serve.

"They are so much more these days than a silent place where you can borrow books.

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"However there’s been a quiet revolution going on as regards our online offer during the spring.

"This is obviously driven by lockdown but we are hoping to continue the interest in our online library service long after the current situation has ended.

"It’s a joy to see so many people continuing to engage with the library service despite this odd and difficult phase in our lives. No one needs to worry about returning or renewing items. Before the lockdown, we suspended the date due of all items that are on loan. This will continue indefinitely.

To find out more and to sign up to join the county's library service, go to