The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services, which includes Willard Library in Battle Creek, announced that its OverDrive group achieved a record-breaking 2 million digital book checkouts in 2019.

This accomplishment illustrates the continued growth and importance of library lending of eBooks and audio books, along with the creative ways libraries have served their communities with digital services, said Scott Garrison, cooperative executive director.

The checkout record was achieved through Rakuten OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform, and its award-winning app Libby.

“It is so gratifying to see how successful this program has been. Reaching the milestone of two million checkouts shows how greatly many, many users value 24/7 access to books from their libraries,” Garrison said.

The collaborative has more than 650 member libraries in Michigan and Indiana. Willard and other member libraries have been providing readers 24/7 access to ebooks and audiobooks for several years.

During the past four years, Willard users have doubled the number of books checked out in a year, said Stefan Jovanovich, the Willard librarian who oversees digital services including OverDrive and Libby.

“It’s very easy to download a book with OverDrive or Libby,” Jovanovich said.

“Willard offers free help to learn how to download ebooks and audiobooks.”

To learn how, library cardholders can request an appointment with Willard’s Book a Librarian service by calling 269-968-8166, ext. 513, or going to tinyurl.com/WLBookALibrarian.

At the appointment, a librarian has a one-on-one meeting with the guest and answers his or her personal questions about digital services.

In 2019, the highest-circulating titles on Overdrive and Libby for Willard Library cardholders were:

 

eBooks:

  1. "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens
  2. "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
  3. "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate
  4. "The Woman in the Window" by A.J. Finn
  5. "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah

Audiobooks:
1. Harry Potter series books by J.K. Rowling
2. “Where the Crawdads” Sing by Delia Owens
3. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
4. “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis
5. “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

With a valid Willard library card, readers may browse Willard’s digital collection, instantly borrow titles and start reading or listening. To learn more about Willard’s digital services, go to tinyurl.com/WLDownloads.

The Libby app, which was named one of Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the 2010s and one of PCMag’s Best Free Software of 2019, seamlessly connects readers with the popular digital collections of libraries.

For OverDrive, readers can use any major device, including iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows. With Libby, readers also can use “send to Kindle” devices and apps.