May 28, 2022

eBook Usage Soars at St. Paul Libraries, But it's Still a Small Fraction of Book Lending


“eBooks are still a very small percentage of total books checked out, but what’s stunning for us is that the trajectory is so dramatic,” Library Director Kit Hadley said in an interview. Circulation of paper books has been static, but eBooks downloads are rising dramatically, she said.

The downloads now run in about the 200-per-day range, but Digital Library Manager John Larson notes that in 2011 the library averaged 6,656 physical items checked out daily from all library locations.


Of the more than 15,000 downloads in 2011, the breakdown was about 2-1 fiction vs. nonfiction, Larson said.


St. Paul uses the OverDrive digital book service but also will be part of a test of a new digital book service, the 3M Cloud Library, expected to roll out in St. Paul next month.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.