MCL’s Digital Lending Continues to Grow

In 2021 the Multnomah County Library (MCL) reached a record-breaking 4.8 million digital book checkouts. “Patrons enjoy the diversity of material and ease of access and their high level of use shows that,” said Kady Ferris, MCL Electronic Content Librarian. 

The digital checkout milestone illustrates the continued growth and importance of digital lending of e-books and audiobooks, especially after a prolonged period of building closures due to the global pandemic. MCL is the number six library public system worldwide in total digital circulation.

E-books and audiobooks are available to readers through Libby, the award-winning library reading app created by OverDrive 24/7. 

In combination with a valid library card, any major device, including Apple, Android, Chromebook and Kindle, can be used to access digital books. The vast digital collection includes romance, mystery, biography, children’s books and more.

The top borrowed e-book in 2021 was The Book of Delights  by Ross Gay, the 2021 Everybody Reads selection. The collection of essays is a record of the small joys that are often overlooked in the course of busy lives and a celebration of the beauty of the natural world. 

Starting off 2022, this year’s Everybody Reads’ title, Good Talk, by Mira Jacob, is the most borrowed e-book.

Audiobooks, the present-day books-on-tape, offer another option for readers. Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, took the top spot for audiobook titles borrowed from MCL’s digital collection in 2021. 

Botanist and professor of plant ecology Kimmerer weaves indigenous knowledge, plant science and personal narratives to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.

Digital access for the entire community is supported by increasing the e-book and audiobook collection size for Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Vietnamese language content. MCL is also adding numerous titles, including anti-racist works, to the catalog with no holds/no waiting.

The MCL Library Connect program has grown to reach tens of thousands of K-12 students in Multnomah county acquired a library card using their student ID. By having access to digital library resources anytime from anywhere, they can better navigate the challenges of virtual learning, even if it isn’t possible to make it into a library location. 

The library has also expanded other virtual services, such as technology help, tutoring and programming for youth and adults.

Community members have the opportunity to shape the content of MCL’s selection by making suggestions for additions. These suggestions are reviewed on a weekly basis for future purchases. 

Don’t have a library card? Anyone living in Multnomah (and several surrounding counties) is eligible for a free card and applications can be completed online. 

Once completed, card holders have instant access to e-books, audiobooks, streaming media and more. Physical cards can be picked up with photo ID within six months. 

Get yours at and get borrowing.

MCL’s Digital Lending Continues to Grow

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