Check out our popular online library services until we can welcome you back

Loans of online books and audio items from Brighton & Hove libraries increased by 120% between April and June as people caught up on lockdown reading and listening.

The increase in the number of e-magazines borrowed was even higher, up by 154% compared with the same three-month period last year.

Most popular choices in June included ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ and Harry Potter, plus the Radio Times and the Economist. A list of the top choices is included below.

Online library activities, including daily Storytime for families and regular Baby Boogie pre-school music and rhyme sessions, have also been popular while libraries have been closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Planning for reopening

Library staff are working to reopen the city’s libraries as soon as it is safe and practical to do so, but it will take time to make the necessary changes to ensure a safe return. 

As a result, a phased return starting in August is being planned. All library loans have been extended until 6 September and no fines will be made.

The library service’s Home Delivery Service has restarted and expanded to reach those who are most vulnerable. 

Staff have also been helping with the response to the pandemic, and a number of library staff are distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across the city. 

Councillor Carmen Appich, chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee, said: 

“We know many people are missing their local library and we are looking forward to welcoming them back as soon as it is safe for us to do so. 

“Things will look a little different when libraries reopen and will continue to change over the coming months, but staff will be doing everything they can to support our library users.

“In the meantime, it’s great that people are enjoying our expanded range of online resources including e-books, e-magazines, e-comics, e-newspapers, and taking part in storytime sessions and other activities.”

Online resources

You can borrow online resources by registering for a library card online, if you are not already a member. It is free to join and borrow items.

Children will be able to take part in Silly Squad, the Summer Reading Challenge 2020, online throughout the summer. 

Find out more

To find out more, visit our libraries webpages.

If you need help using any of the online library resources, phone 01273 290800 and leave a message or email

Top choices  

Most popular e-Audio and e-Book titles in June (borrowed through BorrowBox*) 

  • Christy Lefteri - The Beekeeper of Aleppo (novel chosen for National Reading Group Day in June)
  • J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Bill Bryson - Short History of Nearly Everything
  • Liz Pichon - Brilliant World of Tom Gates
  • Liane Moriarty - Nine Perfect Strangers
  • Michelle Obama - Becoming 
  • Reni Eddo-Lodge - Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race 
  • Thomas Taylor - Malamander (chosen for Young City Reads 2020)
  • Sally Rooney - Normal People
  • Margaret Atwood - Testaments

Most popular e-Audio and e-Book titles in June (borrowed through RBdigital*)

  • Hilary Mantel - The Mirror and the Light
  • Marion Keys - Grown Ups
  • Philip Pullman - The Secret Commonwealth 

*Two organisations supply the libraries’ e-books and e-audio – BorrowBox and RBdigital. 

Most popular e-Magazines in June (borrowed through RBdigital)

  • Radio Times
  • The Economist
  • New Scientist
  • Heat
  • BBC Good Food
  • BBC Gardeners’ World
  • Grazia
  • Red UK
  • Closer

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