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65 public libraries achieve record-breaking reading engagement by exceeding 1 million digital checkouts in 2018

Press Release: Overdrive [January 15, 2019]

Cleveland, OH -- January 15, 2019. Rakuten OverDrive announced today that 65 public library systems exceeded 1 million or more digital book loans in 2018, the most ever to reach this milestone. This illustrates how libraries have transformed using digital lending of ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. The total number of libraries represents a significant increase from the 58 systems that surpassed 1 million checkouts in 2017. These libraries are based in the US, Canada, Singapore and New Zealand.

The complete list can be found here. The "Million Checkout Club" includes two library systems that exceeded 5 million digital checkouts and five over 4 million, and each of the 65 achieved all-time highs in their respective systems.

The top 10 digital-circulating library systems for 2018:

  1. Toronto Public Library (+22% growth over 2017)
  2. King County Library System, Washington (+23%)
  3. Los Angeles Public Library (+26%)
  4. New York Public Library (+21%)
  5. National Library Board Singapore (+113%)
  6. Seattle Public Library (+23%)
  7. Hennepin County Library, Minnesota (+20%)
  8. Multnomah County Library, Oregon (+42%)
  9. Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio (+20%)
  10. Mid-Continent Public Library, Missouri (+36%)

The top 5 digital-circulating consortia and shared collections for 2018:

  1. Wisconsin Public Library Consortium (+20%)
  2. The Ohio Digital Library (+23%)
  3. Greater Phoenix Digital Library (+12%)
  4. Tennessee READS (+16%)
  5. Maryland's Digital Library (+30%)

In 2018, these libraries joined the "Million Checkout Club" for the first time:

  • Washington Anytime Library (+23%)
  • Chicago Public Library (+25%)
  • Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Oregon (+146%)
  • Lee County Library System, Florida (+10%)
  • New Hampshire State Library (+15%)
  • C/W MARS, Massachusetts (+24%)
  • Wake County Public Libraries, North Carolina (+20%)

Public libraries reached record digital circulation through innovative activities and campaigns designed to raise awareness of and engagement with digital books. Examples include:

  • The Ohio Digital Library and Kentucky Libraries Unbound both capitalized on Big Library Read's strategy of prominent website placement by choosing their own simultaneous use or older titles to feature. By rotating titles in and out of the "featured title spot" on their main page, the libraries increased circulation instantly.
  • Washington County Cooperative Library Services wrote a Dear Libby Advice Column in their newsletter that educated users on Libby and increased awareness of the digital collection in a unique, interactive way.
  • Multnomah County Library responded to their patrons' demand for audiobooks by greatly expanding their collection and creating an "Available Audio" eReading Room on their website, allowing patrons to see all currently available titles.

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, magazines and the Instant Digital Card.

To find your library and begin borrowing ebooks and audiobooks, visit or install Libby (iOS, Android, Windows).

About Rakuten OverDrive

Rakuten OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide. 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. Named one of TIME's Best iPhone and Android Apps of 2018, Libby is the "one-tap reading app" for libraries. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten.

View Citation
Publication Year:2019
Type of Material:Press Release
Language English
Issue:January 15, 2019
Company: Overdrive
Record Number:23933
Last Update:2024-05-23 07:01:58
Date Created:2019-01-15 07:12:55