Keep mind and body fit with Bromley Libraries in lockdown

Published Wednesday, 27 May 2020

A new addition to Bromley Libraries’ online offer is free of charge, online fitness classes.

Bromley Libraries are operated by social enterprise GLL whose “Better Leisure” division has willingly provided 600 different sessions for all abilities, ranging from beginner’s sessions for those who are new to exercise to high energy workouts, from Zumba and HIIT to Yoga, Pilates and Mindfulness.

To access these exercise videos, customers simply go to the Libraries without Walls section on the www.better.org website – or click on the fitness tile on the Libraries app.

While library buildings have been closed and library users have been in lockdown in their homes, the demand for online resources has increased dramatically. Bromley has seen major increases in issues of online material – up 115 percent.

GLL was fortunate to have undertaken a major review of the online resources just before the pandemic changed our lives. Library managers added the Press Reader online newspaper collection for all GLL partnerships, together with the complete collection of RB Digital magazines, added more e-books in their Overdrive collection – and boosted the e-audio offer by adding Ulverscroft e-audio publications and RB digital e-audio as well as adding additional titles from the Overdrive platform. Freegal continues to provide music streaming and download services. This standard offer is now available to all library members in services operated by GLL.

GLL library staff have added to the online offer during lockdown, filming themselves at home, to produce more than 300 videos of rhyme times, story times, sing and sign, craft sessions, poetry readings, science sessions and so on. These videos have attracted over 150,000 views in GLL’s five national Library Partnerships since the lockdown began. In Bromley over 50 videos have been added, attracting over 40,000 views.

Diana Edmonds MBE, Head of Libraries at GLL said: “We have been working hard to pull together a really comprehensive online provision that genuinely offers something for everyone. The unique circumstances of self-isolation, furloughing and social distancing mean that many people are taking the opportunity to read more, listen to music or enjoy hobbies.

These circumstances have prompted us to look at what we provide for the community in a new way. We’re delighted to be able to announce our latest innovation, the opportunity for our library members to access free online fitness classes, via our GLL libraries apps, meaning that we can cater for our customers’ mental and physical wellbeing while libraries are closed.”

Councillor Peter Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal, Recreation and Housing said, “Libraries have been about more than about physical books for some time now and this is another welcome addition to the suite of activities and services that are being offered. It is encouraging that some of the online activities are being enjoyed by far more people than could actually physically attend, with our library service open for business online. We are hoping that as well as being of interest to existing library members, that it may also attract new virtual library users who may not normally use the library and if this is you, I would encourage you to take a look. In addition to helping you get or stay a little or a lot fitter, you may also be pleasantly surprised about what else is on offer from your library.”

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For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Rogers, Communications Executive on 020 8461 7670 or email andrew.rogers@bromley.gov.uk.