The ebook and audiobook platform Overdrive recently released results from a survey of public library website users that investigated their preferences and use of library resources, in particular print and digital books. More than 16,000 respondents shared their opinions and behaviors to shed light on how public libraries are meeting these users’ needs.
More than 2 in 5 (43%) of respondents reported visiting the library—either in person or online—more than once per week, with a total of 65% saying they visit at least once per week. Of course this survey polled those who were already at a library’s website, so this skews higher compared to broader surveys we’ve shared before (such as those from Pew Research).
Interestingly, respondents split 50-50 on whether they visit the library (again, in person or online) with a particular title in mind or without a title in mind. Split about a third each, respondents said they’d be willing to wait “as long as necessary” for a title (34%) or up to a month (32%). Perhaps most helpful to libraries is that if users are not willing to wait for a title, a majority (65%) said they wouldn’t buy the book instead. Users seem to understand the nature of library collections and that waiting is part of the process.
Respondents also shared their typical methods of discovering both physical and digital books. More than half (53%) said they only found books in a digital setting while 16% only found books in a library or bookstore (physical setting). About a third (31%) relied on both digital and in-person options to find books.
Learn more about how Overdrive’s survey respondents reading and library habits with the full report here.
Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.