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 West Bloomfield Township Public Library Youth Services Coordinator Jill Bickford helps advertise a summer reading program at the library.

West Bloomfield Township Public Library Youth Services Coordinator Jill Bickford helps advertise a summer reading program at the library.

Photo provided by Jill Bickford

West Bloomfield library reports increase in e-resources use during closure

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 18, 2020


WEST BLOOMFIELD — After being closed since March 14, the West Bloomfield Township Public Library began resuming some of its services June 8.

Prior to that, some patrons took advantage of the e-resources the library made available.

“Looking back over the months of April and May, we had almost double the normal circulation that we have for our e-resources, and that includes e-books, digital audio books, digital magazines, videos, basically all the stuff that you don’t have to physically check out, everything you can access digitally from our websites,” said Adult Services Coordinator Eric Schoenbaechler. “So, we saw a huge spike in usage during the months that the library building was closed to the public.”

Schoenbaechler said e-books have been especially popular.

He said the most popular titles were “all over the map.”

A streaming service the library made available also caught the attention of some patrons.

“One resource that we added during the closure that we hadn’t before is Acorn TV,” Schoenbaechler said. “It’s a lot of British TV shows. So, we added that, and that really kind of skyrocketed. We expected it would be popular, but it was even more popular than I anticipated.”

Main Library Branch Manager Jeff Crocker said people were “very grateful” to have e-services available.

“We heard from so many people that hadn’t used (them) and were just getting started with it,” Crocker said. “So, we were just trying to coach them along. … People probably found that it was easier than they thought it was. … We heard from people that were trying new things.”

Jill Bickford is the coordinator of youth services for the library, and she has also noticed a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We did see an increase in the use of e-books for kids, especially our online interactive picture books,” Bickford said. “It was great to have those resources available so that kids could have new titles to read when they had exhausted the print books they had at home.”

According to Bickford, “Pete the Cat” books have been popular with children.

Bickford also discussed the library’s summer reading program.

“This year we’ve designed it so that it can be done completely virtually,” she said. “Kids will earn free books based on the amount of time they spend reading.”

Schoenbaechler said it was “fantastic” to have e-resources to offer for patrons.

“We got messages from tons of new users who hadn’t used e-books before but said they were really happy that they could continue to get their best sellers,” Schoenbaechler said. “We were really happy, and our patrons told us over and over again how pleased they were that these services were available to them during the closure.”