It is no secret that Tillamook County residents love their books. Before COVID hit the world, our checkout statistics were quite impressive for a county our size, and our libraries were bustling hubs of their communities. That came to a screeching halt when the virus forced us to close our doors earlier this year. But guess what? Tillamook County Library adapted quickly to that forced change by adding greatly to our online digital offerings…and our patrons LOVED having so much more to choose from!
We raised the checkout limits and added more e-books, e-audiobooks, downloadable and streaming movies, TV shows…and even e-magazines. The statistics were stunning. Comparing this July to July of 2019, we checked out a whopping 53 percent MORE e-materials than we did the previous year! Percentagewise, that even beats out Multnomah County Library that saw a 42 percent increase in their digital checkouts for the same time period.
With stay-at-home orders in place, many people were at home with increased time to read, listen and watch TV. Also, since people could not drop in at their well-loved physical branch libraries, our virtual library suddenly became more enticing. People needed their books, pandemic or not! It became obvious to us that it was especially important for our patrons to stay connected to literature as a way to escape the realities the world was handing us.
So, what are people checking out? A lot of everything! Of course, people are still after the blockbusters and bestsellers, but there are some unexpected trends that have evolved. We are noticing more self-help and how-to books being requested. People are taking advantage of the downtime to improve their minds, their bodies, and their general outlook on life. Another trend has been toward more comedy selections being checked out. It seems a lot of people are feeling the need to find more reasons to laugh.
Looking toward the future, we want you to know we are working hard to get a plan approved to reopen all of our libraries so you can once again browse our shelves in-person. One thing that would help that effort is to hear what suggestions you might have about how we can improve the Tillamook County Library. You can voice your opinion by filling out our annual survey (link below). I just took the survey myself and it took me just over four minutes to complete. Here is the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TCLSurvey
In the meantime, we are looking forward to Mexican Independence Day on September 16. To celebrate, be sure to check out some of our books about Mexican history, traditions, cooking and more! Call the library at 503-842-4792 and we would be happy to suggest some great reads.