May 22, 2022

New From BookNet Canada: “The Impact of COVID on Book Borrowing”

From BookNet Canada:

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on book borrowing? In the first half of 2021, 40% of Canadians said that COVID impacted their book borrowing, slightly more than for book buying (36%).

Let’s take a deeper look using the results from the Canadian Book Consumer survey, a quarterly survey conducted by BookNet Canada querying Canadians about their book behaviour. The online survey was fielded primarily in May and July 2021 to 4,936 English-speaking Canadians who met our screening criteria.


About eight in ten Canadians believe that it’s important for society to have public libraries for people to visit (82%), and 82% Canadians have a public library branch located near them. About three out of ten Canadians visited a library at least once in the first half of 2021 — 18% visited the library in person and 17% online. In terms of frequency of visits, 41% of Canadians visited a library at least once in 2020, mostly one to four times.


When asked why Canadians visited a physical library branch in the past month, the main reason was to pick up holds (28%). Other reasons were to find a specific book/author (18%), to browse (14%), to discover a new book/author (14%), and to put books/materials on hold (12%).

Less popular reasons were to study/work/research (8%), read magazines/newspapers (8%), use the computers/internet (8%), and to get a library card for themselves/someone else (6%). (For context, 62% of Canadians have a library card.)

Read the Complete Report, View Charts

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.