The free service is granted following the closure of the physical library for a period of two weeks due to the virus outbreak.
“Kigali Public Library as a large gathering institution will be affected by the new measures (to contain the virus) and so the library will be closed for a period of two weeks…all events are also postponed, patrons with borrowed books are requested to remain with them and call to extend their returning dates,” reads a statement from the Kacyiru-based library.
“COVID-19 is a global pandemic and following measures in preventing its spread, we encourage our patrons to use our digital library for free through www.kplonline.org. To login use card number: KPLand first name,” the announcements reads.
Odon Nsengimana, the IT officer at the library told The New Times they already have over 6,000 active library users who pay monthly or annual fees to read books and added that they, among others, can now access the e-books for free.
“Ordinary persons used to pay Rwf1,200 per month to read books per month, students pay Rwf800 per month, and children pay Rwf500 per month. Now they can access the digital books for free since we have closed the library to avoid large gatherings of readers to contain coronavirus infections,” he said.
He added that any other person who had not even subscribed to monthly reading before can now use the mentioned credentials to access and read the digital books.
The library has a collection of about 31,000 books.
“Readers can access the digital books by using any device such as computer as well as mobile phone that have enabling applications,” he said.
One of the applications for library e-books and audiobooks is Libby by OverDrive available on Android and iOS devices, the IT officer explained.
The free access to digital services follows the closing of schools for a period of two weeks which might be extended if the outbreak persists.
To contain the virus spread, people are urged to wash hands frequently, avoid touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth, cover one’s cough, avoid handshakes and keep social distance, avoid crowded places and close contact with anyone that has fever or cough, stay at home if a person feels unwell as well as seeking medical care early if they have a fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.