The DC Public Library reached a new milestone this year with more than 2 million digital items borrowed by customers in 2023 so far. This record high reflects significant growth in digital borrowing through the Library's online services.
The 2 millionth title, Tiphanie Yanique's "Land of Love and Drowning" was borrowed Sunday evening.
"District residents are demonstrating an increasing reliance on our online offerings," said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the DC Public Library. "This trend was evident prior to the pandemic but grew dramatically in 2020 and 2021. What we're seeing is less of a shift in use and more of an expansion in how libraries are used, requiring that we focus as much on the needs of those who visit us online as those who visit us on site."
Customers access the digital collection through the Libby app and OverDrive platform. These services allow convenient browsing, borrowing, and reading of ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. Digital titles can also be sent to personal devices like Kindle eReaders.
The 2 million digital item figure is double last year's total of more than 1 million. It contributed to the Library's overall circulation of 6.3 million items in fiscal year 2022, a 27% increase from 2021.
The Library credits lasting shifts in borrowing patterns stemming from the pandemic for driving increased digital engagement. Customers who became accustomed to digital borrowing on OverDrive and other platforms continue to utilize these services at high rates, even as pandemic restrictions have eased.
Flexible borrowing options help accommodate high demand. Customers can borrow up to 10 titles at once, choose a 7, 14, or 21-day lending period, and place up to 15 holds on new releases. Magazine checkouts are unlimited.
As online engagement remains strong, the Library will keep monitoring digital trends and adapting to meet the evolving needs of the District's readers - through both online services and Library locations.