Library use rises and changes during the pandemic


In late 2021, Witt Associates, LLC, a leading research firm focused on public safety and crisis management, conducted an independent study to explore how public library usage continued to evolve during the second year of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This research, conducted on behalf of Innovative, part of Clarivate, found that:

  • Library usage increased during the pandemic. Frequency of library usage went up in 2021. 32 percent of adults say they have used or visited the library at least once a month this year, compared to 27 percent reporting the same in 2020.
  • Libraries can attract new users by promoting digital content downloads. 63 percent of non-patrons said that offering e-books or audiobooks would make them more likely to use a library. Most libraries already do! This suggests that libraries could reach non-patrons by advertising services they already offer.
  • Library users want personalized services like those offered by online platforms. Fifty-nine percent of library users would like their library to provide personalized lists of books to read. Sixty-six percent would like their public library to send them personalized lists of resources, events, and services that might interest them.

This research paints an interesting perspective. While usage is up, library goers are still unaware of the full breadth of resources offered by their public library. Community members and patrons are also looking for the Netflix experience (tailored content) when it comes to browsing and finding content.

Visit our Resource Center to download the full research report today.

About Witt Associates, LLC:
Witt Associates offers consulting services. The Company specializes in public safety and crisis management. Witt’s line of business includes mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and strategic advice. Witt provides services to the federal, state, and local governments.