Over 1 million books borrowed from Burlington Library in 2023, while other non-book items flew off shelves


Published January 4, 2024 at 1:48 pm

burlington public library stats 2023

Who said no one needs the library anymore?

Earlier this month, Burlington Public Library (BPL) CEO Lita Barrie announced that members borrowed a “whopping” 1,225,000 books in 2023, with one family of “eager readers” reportedly saving $27,000 last year. 

In a note posted to the library’s website, Barrie said BPL users can view their estimated annual savings at the bottom of their printed receipt when they check out books. 

“We added this feature to our receipts this year and it has been a great way for customers to see what they are saving by using their library,” she wrote. 

People also borrowed more than just books.

According to Barrie’s post, the most popular non-book items borrowed were MiFi Hotspots, Chromebooks, and iPads. Library users also took out jigsaw puzzles, which were rolled out in June. 

Barrie said the year’s most popular event was an evening with R.H. Thomson, author of By the Ghost Light. Barrie also wrote that thousands of kids came out to enjoy 1,367 storytimes in 2023, with some events attracting 80 or more children and their families. 

The library also launched sensory kits developed in collaboration with Autism Ontario. It also expanded its collection of supportive reading materials such as decodable books geared towards dyslexic readers and WonderBooks and Vox Books that read aloud.

Barrie said BPL also opened its new Reading Garden at the Central Branch and launched  The Burlington Digital Archive, described as “an online trove of maps, photos, and historical documents.” 

The Library also launched Handpicked For You, a service that provides readers with personalized recommendations. 

As for what books Barrie enjoyed the most, her top 10 titles of 2023 include The Whispers by Ashley Audrain, Trust by Hernan Diaz, The Art Thief by Michael Finkel, None of This is True by Lisa Jewell, Yellowface by R.F. Kuang, I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jenette McCurdy, The Creative Act by Rick Rubin, A Death at the Party by Amy Stuart, The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz and The Fake by Zoe Whittall. 

“It was an outstanding year for Burlington Public Library, and we couldn’t have done it without the continued enthusiastic support of our community and our dedicated and talented staff, who work hard to deliver the best library service possible every day. Thank you for making BPL part of your story in 2023,” Barrie wrote. 

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