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NC Kids Digital Library sees 1 million digital book checkouts, a 60% increase, during pandemic

NC Kids Digital Library is available through every public library in North Carolina.

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NC Kids Digital Library sees surge in demand during COVID
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
, Go Ask Mom editor
North Carolina's kids are reading during the pandemic. On Tuesday, NC Kids Digital Library, a statewide e-book consortium, announced that it had reached 1 million digital book checkouts in 2020—up 60% from the year before.
NC Kids Digital Library is available through every public library in North Carolina. To check out the virtual books and audiobooks, kids just need a valid library card from a member library. The digital collection can be read on any major Apple, Android, Chromebook and Kindle device and via the Libby reading app.

The North Carolina Public Library Directors Association launched the NC Kids Digital Library in 2017 so kids, primarily in kindergarten to fourth grades, could access reading materials, according to a press release. It's the first statewide digital children's library in the United States thanks to a $200,000 appropriation from the North Carolina General Assembly. The digital library started offering mostly fiction to help foster a love of reading. But as partnerships between libraries and schools grew, it began offering more nonfiction books.

Reader interest and use has grown each year and exploded during COVID. The virtual library had 624,405 ebook and audiobook checkouts in 2019. (Durham County Library also has seen a big uptick in video views during the pandemic.) NC Kids Digital Library is now one of 102 public library systems around the world with more than 1 million checkouts.

“We are excited about NC Kids Digital Library joining the Million Checkout Club because it represents thousands of young readers across North Carolina who have benefited from this statewide e-book initiative,” said Jennifer Sackett, director of Lincoln County Public Library, in a press release. “Having a resource like NC Kids Digital Library that promotes literacy and education has been a lifeline, especially at a time when access to many resources has been limited and traditional education has been replaced by remote learning. We appreciate the General Assembly and Governor working with North Carolina's public libraries to expand access to quality resources for all children.”

In what will come as no shock to parents of young readers, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," by Jeff Kinney was the highest-circulating title that readers borrowed in 2020. The top-circulating genre was comics and graphic novels.

Here are some other popular titles, according to the press release.

The top 5 beginning reader titles borrowed through NC Kids Digital Library’s digital collection in 2020:
1. "Lego Ninjago: Ninja, Go!" by DK
2. "Team Ninja" by Catherine Saunders
3. "Scuba-Cat" by James Dean
4. "Pete the Cat and the Lost Tooth" by James Dean

5. "Five Little Pumpkins" by James Dean

The top 5 titles from Lerner Publishing Group borrowed through NC Kids Digital Library’s digital collection in 2020:
1. "Don't Call Me Grandma" by Vaunda Micheaux Nelso
2. "Forgotten Bones" by Lois Miner Huey
3. "Dive into Danger" by Kelly Milner Halls
4. "Dino-Basketball" by Lisa Wheeler

5. "Dino-Racing" by Lisa Wheeler


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