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By Mohamad Harith Mohamad Nizar
KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 -- The demand for e-books from the National Library of Malaysia (PNM)’s digital collection has soared since the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18.
PNM Library System and Network Division senior deputy director Aidatul Hasnida Abdul Rani said in March alone nearly 40,000 of the library's digital books were borrowed compared to an average of about 15,000 during the regular months.
According to her the new membership registration for u-Pustaka and visitors to the library portal has increased dramatically during the MCO.
“Membership registration and portal visitors statistics showed an increase during the current MCO. As of April 21, 2020, the cumulative number of u-Pustaka members is 501,295.
"During the MCO alone, membership registration reached 22,982 members. The highest membership registration was at the beginning of the MCO reaching 6,069 registrations in one day (March 19),” she told Bernama.
Meanwhile, Aidatul Hasnida said the selection of reading material is varied, depending on interests and information requirements needed but during the MCO, borrowing of e-books were more to fiction-based reading materials.
“From time to time PNM is constantly trying to make digital reading material more accessible to Malaysians. Among the initiatives undertaken is to increase the number of digital reading material every year.
“In addition, PNM via the u-Pustaka as a national information hub has successfully digitized 1.7 million pages of local reading material such as Malay manuscripts, rare books as well as national collections that can be accessed through the u-Pustaka portal,” she said.
She said PNM hoped to attract more Malaysians to use the services provided by u-Pustaka.
“To achieve this, we welcome the involvement of libraries in Malaysia to jointly promote the use of u-Pustaka services among society.
"As we all know, Malaysia aims to develop a restructured economy based on high value knowledge at all levels of society. Through u-Pustaka, we provide a wealth of information suitable for all ages and on a broad range of subjects and accessible everywhere by Malaysians,” she said.