Despite the in-person closure, the library managed to gain 58 new members and lent 15,694 items in total. (Houston Today file photo)

Despite the in-person closure, the library managed to gain 58 new members and lent 15,694 items in total. (Houston Today file photo)

A whopping 15,694 items checked out from Houston Public Library in 2020

Library gains 58 new members throughout 2020

Houston Public Library had a busy year in 2020, despite and due to the pandemic.

When the pandemic first reared its head, the library had to shut its doors to public for roughly three months but the staff quickly came up with a plan to offer services without the patrons having to step inside.

“The Houston Public Library was closed to the public for 3.5 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are continuing to offer curbside service to those who want,” said Sara Lewis the library director.

The library was closed for in person checkouts in March and started offering curbside service. A staff member also did a deep cleaning of the library building. Lewis and others then began working on access planning with particular emphasis on providing a service to people now spending more time at home.

Despite the in-person closure, the library managed to gain 58 new members and lent 15,694 items in total. Of the total items checked out, 4,485 were adult books, 4,791 were juvenile books, 2,446 were DVDs and 3,972 were audio, ebooks or magazines.

The library also saw several other titles being checked out frequently, This Is Your Brain On Food by Uma Naido, Martha Stewart’s Organizing by Martha Stewart and The Cold Vanish by John Billman were the top non-fiction books to be checked out and Camino Winds by John Grisham, Texas Outlaw by James Patterson and A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci were the top adult fiction books to be checked out. The top three children’s books that were checked out in 2020 were Pet the Cat’s Family Road Trip by Kim Dean, The Berenstain Bears’ Big Track Meet by Mike Berenstain and Tooth Fairy in Training by Michelle Robinson.

The top three most popular DVD checkouts were Game of Thrones – The Complete Eight Season, IT – Chapter 2 and Little House on the Prairie – Season 2.

Currently, the library is operating on a changed schedule, with 12 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, 10 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The library is closed on Mondays.

The library has also been offering several workshops and art and craft kits.

“Craft kits will continue to be available for pick up each month. Kits are free but registration is required so we know how many to have prepared,” said Lewis.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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