Li­braries are evolv­ing for the dig­i­tal age . . .

Stockport Express - - Before The Bench - ANN COF­FEY Labour MP for Stock­port

ONE of the great things about liv­ing in a town for a long time is you see how it changes and evolves.

When my daugh­ter was young we spent many happy hours in our lo­cal li­brary in Heaton Moor.

Par­ents both then and now re­ally value the friendly at­mos­phere and the wealth of chil­dren’s books and story-telling which our li­braries of­fer.

Dur­ing na­tional Li­braries Week this year I was able to visit another of my lo­cal li­braries – Edge­ley.

As well as the fa­mil­iar book­shelves, chil­dren’s sec­tion and the com­put­ers, there is so much more go­ing on.

You can use the Wi-Fi to look for a job, do your home­work, de­velop your hobby or even prac­tice your driv­ing the­ory test.

Li­brary events are on all the time – from spooky story time for Hal­loween to a new show about Ada Lovelace, the world’s first com­puter pro­gram­mer.

But you don’t need to visit the li­brary to be part of it.

The Home Li­brary Ser­vice has al­ways been very good at reach­ing out to peo­ple who find it dif­fi­cult to get to the li­brary due to dis­abil­ity or poor health – say re­cov­er­ing from an op­er­a­tion or liv­ing with a men­tal health is­sue.

But now ev­ery­one can also con­nect with the li­brary on­line and I was keen to see how Stock­port li­braries are evolv­ing in the dig­i­tal age.

You can use your li­brary card to re­new your books on­line, search the li­brary cat­a­logue and ac­cess a na­tional li­brary en­quiry ser­vice.

Dur­ing my Edge­ley visit I took the op­por­tu­nity to get my li­brary card up­dated, with the pin num­ber I need to do it all on­line.

I also found out about the free Bor­row­box app to down­load to your phone or tablet for bor­row­ing e-books and au­dio-books.

I’m de­lighted that, de­spite the huge pres­sures on coun­cil bud­gets, our li­braries are us­ing new tech­nol­ogy so we can ac­cess the ser­vice, wher­ever we are.

Li­braries are at the heart of our com­mu­ni­ties.

As a win­dow onto what’s go­ing on in our li­braries I would re­ally rec­om­mend their fan­tas­tic Face­book page www.face­­portli­braries.

Or of course you could pop into your lo­cal li­brary!

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