Sign-ups to libraries across the north-east has continued to increase in the past year.
A freedom of information request has shown that the number of library cards signed up for in both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has risen compared to the last year.
In Aberdeen, data for 2019/20 shows that a total of 7,089 adults signed up for a library card at one of the city’s libraries, while 257 teens aged between 12 and 15 got a card and 1,910 children were registered.
This compares to 6,959 adults, 305 teenagers and 1,801 children who were registered in 2018/19.
The library service also saw a huge increase in the number of people signing up for online cards, as you can read e-books and listen to audiobooks through applications.
So far this financial year, there has been 1,461 online sign ups, compared to 771 in 2019/20, and 772 in 2018/19.
Councillor Claire Imrie, Aberdeen City Council’s mental health and wellbeing spokeswoman, said: “We are delighted with the continued increase in the number of people applying to join their local library.
“Particularly given the challenging year we have all had, with library buildings closed for a substantial time during the early Lockdown. In 2020 we saw the number of people joining online rise by nearly 200%.
“Reading has been proven to have a significant positive effect on mental health and it is fantastic to see people turning to the library and books as a means to impact positively on their health & wellbeing and to explore the joy of reading.”
In Aberdeenshire, figures also showed a rise in the number of sign-ups.
In 2019/20, there was 917 adults and 37 children under the age of 17 signed up to community libraries across the region, compared to 291 adults and seven children in 2018/19.
The highest number of sign-ups was seen at Inverurie, Ellon, Westhill and Peterhead libraries.
Live Life Aberdeenshire libraries and information services manager Sharon Jamieson said: “While people have been unable to physically enter and browse libraries as they have in the past due to the pandemic, our Click and Collect and home delivery service has proved very popular, being accessible online and over the phone.
“We’ve also seen significant increases in the use of our digital library services. From the comfort of home library members can access e-books and e-audiobooks, study guides, PressReader to read digital newspapers and magazines, and more.
“It’s great to see even more people finding out about what their local library service can do to help them through this difficult time.”
Both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire libraries offer online digital resources, and can still be signed up for online despite libraries being closed.
For information on click and collect services, both councils have dedicated webpages with booking forms.