ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

Public Libraries See Uptick in Digital Checkouts of YA, Kids’ Books. Juvenile Fiction Jumps 68% Since Pandemic.

An upside of sheltering in place? More time for reading. Library patronage has seen a boost, with OverDrive reporting a spike of 30 percent in digital checkouts since March 13, when the coronavirus epidemic was declared a national emergency.

Photo of Kansas City Library by Dean Hochman


An upside of sheltering in place? That could be more time for reading. Library patronage has recently seen a boost, with OverDrive reporting a spike of 30 percent in digital checkouts since March 13, when the U.S. government formally declared the coronavirus epidemic a national emergency.

Comparing the two weeks before and two weeks after March 13, there was a 40 percent hike in ebook checkouts, according to OverDrive, a distributor of books to libraries and schools. Meanwhile, audiobooks rose 10 percent, the lower growth likely due to a decrease in commuting, per David Burleigh, OverDrive’s Director of Brand Marketing & Communication.

YA and kids’ books have been among the most popular genres in public libraries. Ebook checkouts of juvenile fiction went up 68 percent; juvenile nonfiction, 71 percent. Since April 1, 175,000 Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks have circulated, courtesy of a partnership between OverDrive and Pottermore Publishing as part of the Harry Potter at Home program.

Geographic trends were similarly driven by the public health crisis. The first states that implemented shelter-in-place orders, California, Washington, New York, and Ohio, had the largest gains in library checkouts.

On the school side, OverDrive also reports an uptick in circulation, comparing four weeks before and after March 13. In addition, installs of the company’s mobile app for schools, Sora, have more than doubled, while new users have nearly tripled.

Following are the most popular digital checkouts in YA and juvenile titles via OverDrive for the period of March 13 to April 8, 2020.

Most checked out titles in North American public libraries via OverDrive (Libby app):

Top 10 young adult ebooks (public libraries):

  1. *Funny, You Don't Look Autistic - Michael McCreary
  2. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  3. The Maze Runner - James Dashner
  4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
  5. Turtles All the Way Down - John Green
  6. Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon
  7. We Were Liars - E. Lockhart
  8. Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas
  9. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

Top 10 YA audiobooks (public libraries):

  1. *Funny, You Don't Look Autistic - Michael McCreary
  2. The Hunger Games series - Suzanne Collins
  3. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
  4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
  5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - J. K. Rowling
  6. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  7. The Maze Runner - James Dashner
  8. The Giver - Lois Lowry
  9. Children of Blood and Bone - Tomi Adeyemi
  10. Divergent - Veronica Roth

Top 10 juvenile ebooks (public libraries):

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney
  2. Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling
  3. Wonder - R. J. Palacio
  4. The Giver - Lois Lowry
  5. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
  6. Big Nate series - Lincoln Peirce
  7. Guts - Raina Telgemeier
  8. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  9. Ali Cross - James Patterson
  10. Brawl of the Wild - Dav Pilkey

Top 10 juvenile audiobooks (public libraries):

  1. Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling
  2. The Heroes of Olympus series - Rick Riordan
  3. A Wrinkle In Time - Madeleine L'Engle
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia series - C. S. Lewis
  5. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series - Rick Riordan
  6. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  7. Mary Poppins - P. L. Travers
  8. The BFG - Roald Dahl
  9. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
  10. The Call of the Wild - Jack London

Most checked out titles in North American K-12 schools via OverDrive (Sora app):

Top 10 YA ebooks (K-12):

  1. *Funny, You Don't Look Autistic - Michael McCreary
  2. 90 Days of Different - Eric Walters
  3. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
  4. The Maze Runner - James Dashner
  5. One of Us Is Lying - Karen M. McManus
  6. The Selection - Kiera Cass
  7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - John Boyne
  8. The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan
  9. Set You Free - Jeff Ross
  10. Five Feet Apart - Rachael Lippincott

Top 10 YA audiobooks (K-12):

  1. *Funny, You Don't Look Autistic - Michael McCreary
  2. The Hunger Games series - Suzanne Collins
  3. The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
  4. Hatchet - Gary Paulsen
  5. The Maze Runner - James Dashner
  6. The Giver - Lois Lowry
  7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - John Boyne
  8. One of Us Is Lying - Karen M. McManus
  9. The Selection - Kiera Cass
  10. The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

Top 10 juvenile ebooks (K-12):

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series - Jeff Kinney
  2. Hidden Figures Young Readers' Edition - Margot Lee Shetterly
  3. El Deafo - Cece Bell
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J. K. Rowling
  5. Wonder - R. J. Palacio
  6. The Terrible Two - Mac Barnett
  7. Ada Twist, Scientist - Andrea Beaty
  8. Guts - Raina Telgemeier
  9. Inspector Flytrap - Tom Angleberger
  10. Big Nate Makes a Splash - Lincoln Peirce

Top 10 juvenile audiobooks (K-12):

  1. Harry Potter series - J. K. Rowling
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Jeff Kinney
  3. A Wrinkle In Time - Madeleine L'engle
  4. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  5. Wind - Marion Dane Bauer
  6. Refugee - Alan Gratz
  7. Before She Was Harriet - Lesa Cline-Ransome
  8. The Dragonet Prophecy - Tui T. Sutherland
  9. Front Desk - Kelly Yang
  10. The Wild Robot - Peter Brown

* "Funny, You Don't Look Autistic" was featured as OverDrive’s Big Library Read selection (March 23 to April 13), which is receiving prominent exposure and no wait lists for checkout at 20,000+ libraries and schools.

 

 

Author Image
Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka is editor in chief of School Library Journal.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED