Top 25 public library consortium worldwide in total digital circulation 

Northampton, Mass. –  Forbes Library helped CW MARS, the Central and Western Massachusetts Resource Sharing network, reach a record-breaking 1.8 million digital book checkouts in 2020. For CW MARS, this accomplishment illustrates the continued growth and importance of library digital lending of ebooks and audiobooks, especially in a year with limited in person services due to the global pandemic. CW MARS, consisting of 150 libraries in central and western Massachusetts including Forbes Library, is one of 102 public library systems worldwide that surpassed one million checkouts (complete list here). 

Forbes Library and other CW MARS member libraries have been providing readers 24/7 access to ebooks and audiobooks for several years through OverDrive and its award-winning Libby reading app. Reader interest and usage has grown every year.

“This year ebooks and audiobooks took on a new level of importance for our library and our patrons,” said Molly Moss, Assistant Director of Forbes Library. “While we were forced to temporarily close our doors and limit some of our services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our library staff immediately went to work to ensure we could still serve the public in new and creative ways. A big part of that service included increasing our holdings of ebooks and e-audiobooks, to keep up with the demand from our patrons who were quarantined at home and seeking new sources of entertainment and information.” Forbes Library patrons borrowed 45,589 items in 2020, among the top five libraries in CW MARS.

The highest-circulating title Forbes Library readers borrowed through OverDrive in 2020 was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Fiction was the most popular in a vast catalog that includes romance, thrillers, biography, children/young adult, and much more. 

The top 5 ebook titles borrowed through Forbes Library’s digital collection in 2020: 

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  2. Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad
  3. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  4. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb
  5. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

The top 5 audiobook titles borrowed through Forbes Library’s digital collection in 2020: 

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  3. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  4. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

Readers in Western Massachusetts just need a valid library card to access digital books from CW MARS’s OverDrive-powered digital collection. Readers can use any major device, including Apple ®, Android™, Chromebook™ and Kindle ® (US only). Visit or download the Libby app to get started and borrow ebooks and audiobooks anytime, anywhere.