People can now step into a virtual world anywhere, anytime, to wander around a library.
Surrey County Council has digitised Dorking library, allowing people to experience being in the branch from the comfort of their own home, the train to work, or anywhere else with an internet connection.
Both members and non-library members can enter the virtual branch, look around 360 degree views, zoom in on shelves and browse for a book, using a computer, smart phone or tablet. Once inside people can sign up to the library and actually reserve a book, DVD or CD and find out about opening times.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Whether you’re a commuter looking for a book on the train, or a mum waiting to pick up the kids from school, this new virtual library is an easy way for busy people to browse and choose an item without actually setting foot in the branch. They can later pop into the library to pick up their item at a convenient time.
“Dorking is the perfect example of how technology is complimenting traditional library use. Earlier this year we opened a new branch in the town centre with 20,000 new books and it has proved very popular. The new virtual version of Dorking library will build on this success, making it more convenient to use, while encouraging more people to join.”
Surrey County Council is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of the digital library revolution to meet the changing demands of users. During the summer the council launched an online library app for Apple and Android devices and provided free wi-fi in all branches.
Overall online use of the library service has skyrocketed in recent years, with 3.8 million visits in the 2011/12 financial year alone. This represents a 20% increase on the previous year.
Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at firstname.lastname@example.org.