General, Libraries

Free wi-fi and app as Surrey leads digital libraries revolution

A digital revolution in the way people use libraries has led to the introduction of a free online app and wi-fi in all Surrey County Council branches. Download this photo here.

A digital revolution in the way people use libraries has led to the introduction of a free online app and wi-fi in all Surrey County Council branches.

Surrey’s online library is used more than three million times each year. The new app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices, is now the fastest way people can reserve, renew, browse for items and check their library account, both at home and on the move.

Inside libraries, people can now log onto free wi-fi in all branches, whether they use a library computer, their own laptop, ipad or smart phone. People can browse the web, download ebooks or even search Surrey’s online encyclopedias.

In another development, the council hopes to earn up to £10,000 a year through the use of Google pay per click advertising through the online library.

The introduction of wi-fi and the online app cost the county council nothing to develop because they form part of the new libraries IT contract, which saved the county council £400,000 on the previous deal.

Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, said: “Libraries are undergoing a digital revolution and they have become more than a place to simply borrow books. It’s vital we adapt to keep up with the changing demands of the people who use them or they risk becoming obsolete.

“Our libraries will always be a haven for people who want to read, study, research or simply browse for a good book. But these days libraries are so much more, whether you’re a book club taking part in a Skype chat with an author, or someone catching up with friends and family on Facebook.

“There is a generation of young people growing up for whom it is second nature to read books on an e-reader or do their studies online. In Surrey we’re embracing technology to cater for these changing demands, showing our commitment to the future of Surrey’s libraries.”

The new app can be downloaded by visiting your online app store and searching for the county’s IT contractor ‘Axiell’. People should then search for ‘Surrey County Council’.

Wi-fi is now available in all 52 Surrey libraries, plus Surrey History Centre and the Performing Arts Library.

ENDS

The app for apple devices can be found here and the android version here.

Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at james.oxley@surreycc.gov.uk

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