Record Number of Library Systems Achieve 1 Million+ Digital Book Checkouts in 2019
Toronto Public Library retains rank as #1 worldwide and Los Angeles Public Library races to the top for US digital libraries
CLEVELAND – January 15, 2020 – Rakuten OverDrive announced today that 73 public library systems from the US, Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand each enabled readers to borrow over 1 million ebooks and audiobooks from their catalogs in 2019. This represents the most systems ever to reach this milestone led by Toronto Public Library serving over 6 million titles for the year. Contributing factors to these records include online marketing, award-winning reading apps, strong growth for audiobooks and a 27% increase in circulation of children’s and young adult digital book titles.
Out of thousands of public libraries worldwide, these 73 systems achieved the elite “Million Checkout Club” status, including eight for the first time. Milestones include Toronto Public Library reaching the highest number of checkouts in OverDrive history (6 million), South Australia Public Library Services becoming first Australian library to join the Million Checkout Club, and Los Angeles Public Library earning the title of #1 library system in the US for the first time. In addition, each of the 73 systems achieved all-time highs in their respective systems. The complete list can be found here.
The top 10 ebook and digital audiobook-circulating library systems for 2019:
- Toronto Public Library
- Los Angeles Public Library
- King County Library System, Washington
- New York Public Library
- National Library Board Singapore
- Seattle Public Library
- Multnomah County Library, Oregon
- Hennepin County Library, Minnesota
- Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio
- Mid-Continent Public Library, Missouri
The top 5 ebook and digital audiobook-circulating consortia and shared collections:
- Wisconsin Public Library Consortium
- The Ohio Digital Library
- Greater Phoenix Digital Library
- Maryland’s Digital Library
- Tennessee READS
In 2019, these libraries joined the “Million Checkout Club” (for digital books) the first time:
- South Australia Public Library Services
- British Columbia Libraries, Canada
- Nassau Digital Doorway, New York
- Missouri Libraries 2Go
- District of Columbia Public Library, Washington DC
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, North Carolina
- Arapahoe Library District, Colorado
- OK Virtual Library, Oklahoma
Public libraries reached record digital circulation through innovative activities and campaigns designed to raise awareness of and engagement with digital books. Examples include:
- Libraries Transform Book Pick, an American Library Association sponsored event in October, connected thousands of readers across the US with a featured ebook through their public libraries to generate conversation across communities.
- Calgary Public Library promoted their audiobook collection through an engaging video introducing patrons to the Libby app by showing how audiobook lovers can increase reading through the app.
- DC Public Library hosted a “Go Digital” event in Union Station, one of the busiest hubs of transportation in Washington D.C., where they talked about their digital services and offered one-on-one assistance for new and current library patrons.
- Toronto Public Library targeted the city’s commuters by providing TTC Subway riders with a variety of ebooks through Libby curated specifically for commuters as well as hosting subway station pop-up activations to register new patrons with their Instant Digital Card.
Public libraries’ intensified focus on digital allowed readers to discover – or rediscover – their local library, resulting in record-breaking checkouts. Popular digital resources included the Libby app, digital book clubs, eReading Rooms and Guides, digital magazines and the Instant Digital Card.
To find your library and begin borrowing ebooks and audiobooks, visit www.overdrive.com or install Libby (iOS, Android, Windows).
About Rakuten OverDrive
OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide. Named one of PCMag’s Best Free Software of 2019 and one of Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the 2010s, the award-winning Libby is the “one-tap reading app” for libraries. We are dedicated to “a world enlightened by reading” by delivering the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other digital media to a growing network of 43,000 libraries and schools in 76 countries. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten. www.overdrive.com
Director of Brand Marketing & Communication