Nassau Library System 24th in the world for ebook loans
The Nassau Library System announced that the Nassau Digital Doorway digital book consortium reached a record-breaking 1.9 million digital book checkouts in 2022. For the Nassau Library System, this milestone illustrates the continued growth and importance of library lending of ebooks, audiobooks and other digital media as well as the library’s success in serving all members of the community. The Nassau Library System is ranked 24 of 129 public library systems worldwide. It was also fourth in New York among libraries that surpassed one million checkouts last calendar year.
Nassau Digital Doorway member libraries have been providing readers 24/7 access to ebooks and audiobooks for several years through the award-winning Libby app, the library reading app created by OverDrive. The large collection serves readers of all ages and interests, and usage has grown every year. There are thousands of ebooks and audiobooks, hand-selected by the library system, available for reading. Readers can explore the collection through catalog guides, subjects, featured titles, and curated lists.
Libby allows borrowers to read across devices, because their loans, notes, bookmarks and reading progress are synched. Once a title is selected, patrons can download ebooks and audiobooks for offline reading, or stream them to save space. One of Libby’s best features is audiobooks, which can be played in your car through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or a Bluetooth connection. The app can adjust an ebook’s font size, book layout and lighting; add bookmarks; create notes and highlights; and define words.
“We are thrilled at the continued success of Nassau Digital Doorway and the role it has played in ensuring that our patrons continue to have access to a wide selection of reading material for both pleasure and educational purposes,” said Grace Palmisano, resources and discovery manager at the Nassau Library System.
The highest-circulating title Nassau Digital Doorway readers borrowed in 2022 was The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. The top-circulating genre, thrillers, represents the most popular in a vast catalog that also includes mystery, romance, children/young adult and more.
Maggie Gough, director of the Manhasset Library, was thrilled to hear of the system’s milestone. “It is amazing. I mean, I can remember going various milestones (from when the program started). Michael Ray, who is now the director over at Gold Coast, he was with NLS and first set up our ebook account., We were so excited when we reached a thousand, and then we had 10,000 and then we had our first million number. It was just fantastic.”
The library offers more than just the Libby app; there is also a large collection of magazines. “It (gives an) advantage to people who want it to be able to …take them traveling with them or get back to them at any time. I tend to have my subscriptions even in both forms. I get my Atlantic online and I get also you know sent mail for the house. I like having both; sometimes I scan it quickly online and I go back and really read it when I have a physical copy.”
Reading digitally has been on the rise for some time. According to the Pew research center, 30 percent of adults say they have read an ebook in 2020. The pandemic seems to have accelerated this already significant trend. In 2021, ebook revenue in the United States reached 1.1 billion U.S. dollars. This figure does not include sales from independent authors. Three newspapers in Alabama recently announced they were going over to a digital-only format, with their print editions ceasing production at the end of February. One of the papers, The Birmingham News, has been in print since the late 1800s.
Still, the explosion in digital resources has not dampened enthusiasm for physical books. Just 9 percent of Americans said they only read books in digital formats and did not read any print books. Gough said this trend plays out among the Manhasset Library’s readership as well. “We find especially among our teens, our children, forget about it. They’re all reading hardcover books. more and more (teens) want a hardcopy in hand, especially when they’re reading for their own entertainment, or they’re reading for themselves.” Adults, too, are consuming physical media, especially large type books.
Gough said that across the board, “we have not seen a decrease in our physical book collection.” However, it seems the big publishing houses are less and less comfortable with large runs of hardcover books, which are better suited to library lending.
An interesting digital offering at Manhasset Library is their online library of artifacts. The library houses an extensive collection of local objects and ephemera dating back to the first colonizers. These items are now available for viewing from any device, which has been a boon to researchers and scholars worldwide. “the digital world has been fantastic for libraries. We digitized our history collection here. That was one of the first grants that I got…and I took that money and I started the digitization project of all the materials we had, which includes (items) from the Revolutionary War on little pamphlets and books of the dead. (There were) diaries and school books from the early 1800s and things that we had from Civil War registries. we (decided we) could digitize this and share this with scholars.”
Residents of Nassau County just need a valid library card to access digital books from Nassau Digital Doorway’s OverDrive-powered digital collection (Nassau County residents can look up their home library at www.nassaulibrary.org/librarycard). Readers can use any major device, including Apple, Android, Chromebook and Kindle. Download the Libby app or visit nassau.overdrive.com to get started borrowing e-books and audiobooks anytime, anywhere.
Nassau Library System 24th in the world for ebook loans