King County Library System leads U.S. libraries with digital checkouts through OverDrive

CLEVELAND – Jan. 23, 2018 OverDrive announced today that 58 library systems set a new record for lending 1 million eBooks and digital audiobooks in 2017. This milestone reaffirms the consistent growth of digital lending in the library and represents a significant increase from the 49 that reached 1 million checkouts in 2016.  The libraries are based in the U.S., Canada, Singapore and New Zealand.

See the complete list. The “Million Checkout Club” includes two library systems that exceeded 4 million digital checkouts, seven above 3 million, and five with 2 million or more. The top 10 digital-circulating library systems for 2017:

  1. Toronto Public Library (+19% growth over 2016)
  2. King County Library System, Washington (+13%)
  3. Los Angeles Public Library (+23%)
  4. New York Public Library (+20%)
  5. Seattle Public Library (+12%)
  6. Hennepin County Library, Minnesota (+15%)
  7. Cleveland Public Library (+11%)
  8. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (+12%)
  9. Multnomah County Library, Oregon (+28%)
  10. Cuyahoga County Public Library, Ohio (+10%)

The top 5 digital-circulating consortia and shared collections for 2017:

  1. Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (+7%)
  2. The Ohio Digital Library (+10%)
  3. Greater Phoenix Digital Library (+7%)
  4. Tennessee READS (+10%)
  5. Digital Downloads Collaboration, Ohio (+9%)

“As a leader in transforming libraries into the digital age, King County Library System is known for its numerous technology programs,” said KCLS Library Director Lisa Rosenblum. “It’s no surprise, then, that KCLS is OverDrive’s top digital-circulating library in America, thanks in part to King County residents who have embraced digital formats, and our dedicated librarians who encourage electronic readership by recommending digital titles on our website and social media platforms.”

In 2017, these libraries joined the “Million Checkout Club” for the first time:

  • National Library Board of Singapore (+41% growth over 2016)
  • Sacramento Public Library (+40%)
  • San Diego County Library (+22%)
  • Nashville Public Library (+20%)
  • Edmonton Public Library, Alberta (+15%)
  • Minuteman Library Network, Massachusetts (+15%)
  • Salt Lake County Library Services (+12%)
  • Pierce County Library Services, Washington (+16%)
  • Austin Public Library (+11%)

Public libraries reached record circulation as a result of innovative projects and campaigns designed to raise awareness and engagement. Examples include:

  • Sacramento Public Library introduced a new Instant Digital Card where new patrons use their cell number to access the collection in less than 30 seconds. Circulation also grew after consolidating the library’s eBook collection from another vendor to OverDrive to gain access to 20,000 additional titles compatible with Kindle® devices and apps.
  • Austin Public Library created targeted web graphics in English and Spanish, increased the number of titles readers can borrow, and frequently updated curated lists for readers, often on a daily basis.
  • National Library Board of Singapore created an immersive experience on two commuter trains in Hobbit and middle earth themes and included QR codes for riders to instantly borrow the eBook as part of a national reading movement. The library also launched the first Digital Business Library offering 24/7 instant access to 19,000 world-class eBooks and audiobooks covering the latest business trends such as business intelligence, data analytics and cybersecurity.

Libraries and readers also benefited from a series of OverDrive-powered innovations in 2017 that help readers discover – or rediscover – their local library. These included the new Libby app, Digital Book Clubs and Google search integration.

Visit the OverDrive Blog to view the full 2017 “Million Checkout Club” list. To find your library and begin borrowing eBooks and audiobooks, visit or install the Libby app (iOS, Android, Windows).

About Rakuten OverDrive and Libby
OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide. Libby is the highly rated “one-tap reading app” for libraries named one of Google Play’s Best Apps of 2017. We are dedicated to “a world enlightened by reading” by delivering the industry’s largest catalog of eBooks, audiobooks and other digital media to a growing network of 40,000 libraries and schools in 70 countries. Founded in 1986 and based in Cleveland, Ohio USA, OverDrive is owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten. We became a Certified B Corporation in 2017.

David Burleigh, Director of Brand Marketing & Communication