MANALAPAN, NJ – Perhaps it’s the convenience of ordering on your personal computer or phone, perhaps it’s the fact there are nearly 34,000 titles from which to choose, or, perhaps it’s because the Monmouth County Library system makes it so simple and easy. But the library just circulated its one millionth loan of either E-books or audio books in the five years it has been offering the Library in the Palm of your Hand.

Library assistant Kristina Berg, who oversees the downloadable e- and audio selections offered by the county library system, said even passing the million-user mark, numbers are continuing to climb for library members who simply enjoy the convenience of ordering a book from the comfort of their home.

“There’s nothing to it,” Berg said, “users don’t even have to return the books once they’ve read them. All the electronic offerings are signed out for seven or 14 days, with most members selecting the 14-day option. At the end of the period, the book simply automatically goes back into the system.” 

The downloadable audiobooks, magazines and eBooks are available through the app the library offers to all members and users of all ages are taking advantage of it, Berg continued.

For young readers, those between nine and 13 years of age, the Trials of Apollo books have been popular titles, Berg continued, as have all the Harry Potter books.  Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, has also been very popular, possibly because it was just made into a movie as well.

Paula Hawkins’ Girl on the Train, both a New York Times best seller and a USA Today Book of the Year, has been the most selected fiction for adult readers, the librarian continued.  With 1800 takeouts, it exceeds Looks good!  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn,  which came in second most popular with 1400 takeouts. John Grisham is always a popular author, and fiction takeouts far outnumber non-fiction selections, records show.

“We have 33,963 titles from which to choose,” Berg noted, “in all fields from cookbooks and science to fiction and sports.  We add to the books weekly so there is always something new to look at.”

The million-takeout mark also indicates electronic takeouts are becoming increasingly popular. The number of e-books and audiobooks taken out in 2016 was nine per cent higher than the previous year, Berg said, with the 2017 figures to date indicating the percentage will be even higher this year.

All books are also available through the library website as well as the app, and are available for download to Kindles, Nooks, phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops for both Apple and Android products.  Interested persons wishing to learn more, or in need of some technical help or tips on using Library on the Go for a specific device can call or visit their nearest library branch. 

Recognizing the popularity of the at home and on the road experience, the Monmouth County Library also plans on making yet another library app available soon. The new app will allow users to manage their library accounts, search and book items on hold, check events coming to the library, and act as a digital library card.

“The advances our Library system continues to make by providing the latest electronic conveniences for our library users is another example of why the Monmouth County Library is a leading library not only in the state but in the nation,” said Monmouth County Library Commission Chair Renee Swartz. “The staff in each of our branches as well as Library Headquarters continues to provide what our users want not only on the bookshelves and electronically but also in the variety of programs that are offered on a regular basis.  The Monmouth County Library truly is the heart of the community.”