THE LIBRARY SHELF: Oklahoma Virtual Library Surpasses One Million Cases in 2021 | Local columnists

The Oklahoma Virtual Library (OKVL) reached a record high of 1,165,781 checkouts in 2021. This milestone illustrates the continued growth and importance of digital lending of eBooks and audiobooks, especially after an extended period of building closures of some Oklahoma libraries due to the global pandemic. The Oklahoma Virtual Library is one of 121 public library systems worldwide that have surpassed one million checkouts (full list library-systems-reach-1-million-digital-crates-in-2021/).

OKVL member libraries have been providing readers with 24/7 access to e-books and audiobooks for several years through the award-winning Libby app. Readers’ interest in and use of digital copies has grown every year.

The most streamed title OKVL readers borrowed in 2021 was Kristin Hannah’s “The Four Winds,” a Depression-era book about a woman and her family surviving through the dust bowl. It was also the best-selling hardcover novel of the year.

The top five eBook titles borrowed through OKVL’s digital collection in 2021 were:

1. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah

2. “The Flower Moon Killers” by David Grann

3. “A Time for Mercy” by John Grisham

4. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

5. “The Bridgerton Collection: Books 1-3” by Julia Quinn

“Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Where the Crawdads Sing” have been in the top 5 for a few years now, a new book by John Grisham is always guaranteed to make the list and “Bridgerton” was the surprise hit of 2021, boosted by the success of the Netflix series.

The top five audiobook titles borrowed through OKVL’s digital collection in 2021 were:

1. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

2. “Green Lights” by Matthew McConaughey

3. “The Flower Moon Killers” by David Grann

4. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah

5. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by JK Rowling

Although both versions were popular, the boxes for the audio edition of Matthew McConaughey’s biography greatly exceeded those of the e-book. Customers really wanted to hear his voice! Customers also seem to prefer listening to Harry Potter books rather than reading them. The narrator, Jim Dale, won a Grammy Award for his work on the audiobook series, so it’s no surprise they’re popular with customers.

The OKVL is a consortium of libraries across the state that share digital resources. Working together in this way means that users of small libraries like ours can have access to more material than we as a single library could buy. Consortium local libraries include Perkins, Perry and the recent addition of Cushing.

Stillwater Public Library patrons only need a valid library card to access digital books from OKVL’s OverDrive-powered digital collection. Readers can use any major device, including Apple, Android, Chromebook, and Kindle. Download the Libby app or visit to start borrowing eBooks and audiobooks anytime, anywhere.

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