The digital boost that the pandemic has given to numerous sectors is also reflected in reading habits, and specifically, in the activity of the Murcia Regional Library (BRMU), which, as revealed this Monday by the new Minister of Education and Culture, Mabel Campuzano, throughout 2020 experienced a notable increase both in the number of digital loans and in the number of users.
Campuzano released these data on the occasion of the presentation of the activities that the Regional Library plans to develop this week to commemorate Book Day, and which will include, among others, storytelling sessions, digital meetings and an ‘escape room’ « librarian theme ».
Among the most outstanding data, is the increase in the number of new members registered by the Murcian library, which during the past year amounted, despite the pandemic, to a total of 1,400 readers, 20% above the figure of 2020. But the growth in loans of electronic books (e-Biblio) and audiovisual material (e-Film) is also significant, with an increase of 139% and 188%, respectively. Specifically, during 2020 the BRMU made a total of 195,237 e-Biblio loans compared to the 81,551 registered in 2019; While the demand for e-Film went from 9,119 requests in 2019 to 81,551, according to the data provided by the Minister of Culture, who was accompanied during the event by the director of the Regional Library, Juana María García.
“These data show that the strategy to promote reading, now embodied around the ‘Libréate’ project, is proving to be a success,” said Campuzano, referring to the strategy to promote reading launched in March 2020 by the former management of the department, led by Esperanza Moreno, and which envisaged measures to promote the reading habit in all age groups, including the promotion of the e-Biblio and e-Film platforms. However, faced with the growth in digital demand, there is a reduction in physical loans that García attributed to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
Campuzano took advantage of the event to congratulate the library team “for their work” and made reference “to the comprehensive renovation” of the center’s website, of which he also offered data. According to the counselor, the BRMU portal registered an average of 10,000 monthly visits throughout 2020, with a peak of 24,000 visits in May of that year. These figures are far removed from the record that the center had been counting before the pandemic, with 6,000 monthly visits on average in 2019. Campuzano also highlighted the incorporation of 6,000 new sound, print and audiovisual production documents to the BRMU website, as well as the activities that the library has made available to its users on the YouTube channel and on social networks, where it has “more than 19,000 followers.”
‘Book nooks’ contest
Regarding the activities scheduled for Book Day, which is commemorated this Friday, the counselor advanced the celebration of several events, which can be enjoyed online. The first of them will start on Friday and will consist of a contest that will invite young people between 12 and 16 years of age to illustrate the cover of their favorite book in order to turn the winning work into a ‘book nooks’, an imaginary space between the books on a shelf in which a fantasy setting is recreated. The contest will remain open until May 9.
Another of the scheduled activities will be a special session of the ‘Leja82’ cycle, which will bring together the editors Fernando Fernández (La Fea Burguesía), Nicolás Cañete (Malas Tierras) and Manuel Borrás (Pre-Texts) on the BRMU YouTube channel . The event, at 7.30 pm, this Friday, will be moderated by Antonio Díaz.
There are also two storytellers with Pablo Albo from Alicante (on Friday at 6:00 p.m.), who will narrate his’ Tales of air. Paper stories’; and Carlos Saldaña (on Saturday at 12.00, both ‘online’), who will read ‘El patito feo’; a meeting with María José Sevilla and Antonio Marín Albalate (Saturday 24, 12.00 hours) within the cycle ‘Obras-incompletas’; and the realization of a virtual ‘escape room’ for schools and the general public.
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