NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Nashville Public Library experienced a record number of digital downloads in 2020, with users checking out more than two million online materials.
Digital materials include ebooks, audiobooks, emagazines and more. Library administrators said with library branches shutting their doors due to COVID-19, more and more Nashvillians turned to the NPL website.
"We did see some extraordinary numbers in terms of folks using the library to check out digital materials," NPL spokesperson Ed Brown said. "If you count it all together, we had more than 2.3 million digital downloads in the calendar year 2020, and that's remarkable. That's the highest we've ever had."
That surge in digital checkouts was balanced out by a steep drop off in physical checkouts. For much of 2020, NPL buildings were closed to the public, and print materials could only be picked up at certain branches that offered drive-up services. Print material checkouts dropped by 52% percent compared to 2019.
"It's not really a fair comparison, but 2020 was the first year where we had more digital checkouts than we had physical checkouts," Brown said.
As coronavirus shutdowns and restrictions continue into the start of 2021, library officials say they will continue to emphasize ebooks and other digital services
"You're going to see us continue to push digital materials and up our collections of digital materials," Brown said. "I definitely think that even once were opened up fully again and you can come in and browse the stacks, you're still going to see folks wanting to access digital material."