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Liverpool's libraries enjoy page turning chapter

LIVERPOOL'S libraries are marking a bumper year of borrowing; although their doors have been open far less than usual. During the Pandemic, the City's digital library has seen an 80% surge in borrowing since the 1st lockdown in March 2020 with an incredible 242,744 downloads in the last 12 months (up to March 2021). Since the libraries' 1st closure, on 23 March 2020, there have been 56,727 more ebooks and 71,358 more spoken word items downloaded compared to the previous 12 months.

In the last lockdown alone, that started in January 2021 and lasted until libraries started to re-open, on 12 April 2021, 32,490 were downloaded. Not only that, the number of people registered as borrowers for the digital library increased 68% in the same period; rising from 14,978 to 25,206.

And it wasn't just digital downloads which have satisfied the City's hunger for words during the last year. Understanding that digital access isn't an option for everyone, the Home Library Service continued to operate during the Pandemic and has seen the number of people using its services double.

The libraries also set up an order and collect service, where books could be collected from some libraries, at pre-booked times. In total, 33,358 items were issued as part of order and collect and the Home Library Service. Although the digital library saw its downloads almost double, 305,578 physical items were still issued by community libraries in the past 12 months. Library staff have also been working throughout the Pandemic answering over 10,000 email and online queries when the libraries have been physically closed.

Val Jones, acting head of Liverpool's Libraries and Information Services, said:- "We know what an important service the libraries provide to the people of Liverpool, they are well loved and well used by all age groups. So we weren't that surprised that a Pandemic failed to stop the City's love of reading! This has been a tough year, but it has also been an opportunity for people to discover our digital offer and how quick and easy it is to search for, reserve and download books. We also know that people still love being able to turn a book's pages so it has been wonderful that we were still able to issue over 300,000 physical items. We want to thank people for their support over the year and for their commitment to our service. We're looking forward to getting back to normal at all sites in the City and seeing all our library users; both old and new."

The City's libraries are now starting to re-open, and it is hoped that a pre-Pandemic service will return by the late summer. Anyone can sign up to the digital library via the Read Liverpool website.

Shocked couple 'owled' in shock as bird of prey flew down chimney and smashed items, then returned the day after!

AN owl flew down a chimney and rearranged some items in a house in Southport before calmly sitting on the fire surround as the RSPCA came to rescue him. The tawny owl managed to get down the chimney of a house in Allerton Road. Ed Jones and his wife Joyce found the bird after they heard a commotion coming from the room. They went to investigate and could see the owl sat upright on the surround asleep so they called the RSPCA for help. Animal rescuer, inspector Lisa Lupson was sent to the house and could see the bird still perched happily, but managed to encourage him out of the window using her net. The following day, on Wednesday, 28 April 2021, the couple again went in their living room and were shocked to discover that the owl had returned, and was sat on the same spot on the fireplace happily sleeping. Again the couple called the RSPCA and this time Animal Rescue Officer (ARO) Lauren Bradshaw was sent to the address and managed to safely capture the owl and released it outside in the garden, much to the delight of the couple's grandchildren Charlie (10) and Bobby (5).

Ed (67), said:- "I couldn't believe it the 1st time, then the fact it came back the day after, I thought I might have to start charging it rent! It was so funny to see it sat in the same spot and he actually looked like an ornament on the mantle shelf rather than a real bird. He certainly made his presence known on both occasions as some of our ornaments were rearranged and he broke a 20-year old vase which we had bought in Greece. There are also marks on some of the wood furniture from his talons but we are just so pleased he was in good health and happily flew off. We are really grateful to the RSPCA for helping. I was going to go and try to let him out of the room myself but my wife was worried that the bird could injure me."


Ed said it isn't the 1st time the couple have had birds finding their way down their chimney; which has a guard on it; but he now plans to have further work carried out to prevent this happening. He said:- "We have had a couple of magpies come down the chimney and some jackdaws which I usually just let out of the window, but this owl was a big surprise and certainly made his presence known!"

Animal rescuer, inspector Lisa Lupson said:- "When I arrived at the house the owl looked quite chilled and just sat there, but I could see he had moved some ornaments and pictures on the wall and caused some damage. I was really shocked when I found out that my colleague Lauren had to attend the following day as the owl had returned. He must have really enjoyed his stay the 1st time round, and clearly had a hoot!"

Lauren added:- "The owl was healthy so I took him onto the garden to release him and watched as he happily flew off. Hopefully he will learn from the 2 incidents and keep away from the chimney."

If you find a wild animal in distress, stuck, sick or injured please contact the RSPCA for advice on:- 03001234999 and visit:- RSPCA.Org.UK.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing animals in desperate need of care please visit their website:- RSPCA.Org.UK or call the donation line on:- 03001238181.

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