Library Blog

The Society Library Index: 2018

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2018 was another busy and exciting year at The Society Library. This numbers-based snapshot reveals some recent goings-on.

Years that have passed since the Library’s founding : 264
Years we have been open : 250 (The Library was closed for 14 years during the American Revolution, reopening in 1789)
Years in our current home : 81
Signs throughout the Library to remind our members "No food or beverages, No cell phone calls" : 16
Number of Libraries in the American Membership Libraries Group : 17
       Latest member of the MLG : Folio-The Seattle Athenaeum (founded 2015, admitted in 2018)  
New members who joined the Library in 2018 : 540
Most impressive use of mobile technology: Woman heard about the Library while hiking in Alaska and joined online.
Tours of the building: 737
Busiest month for tours: August
Busiest hour for tours overall: 2-3 pm
Active memberships at year’s end :  2,937
Active members for over 25 years : 623
Active members for over 40 years : 208
Longest current membership : 69 years
Books published by members in 2018 (that we are aware of) : 26 (by 25 members)*
Books, audiobooks, and ebooks cataloged for the collection in 2018 : 4,235
Book donations added to the Library’s collection : 344
Number of books purchased with money from book funds established by Library members : 1,369
Total checkouts in 2018 (books, audiobooks, and ebooks) : 66,694
Ebook checkouts: 4,941
Average number of checkouts out per day :192
The three most popular books of the year : A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles; Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan; Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
Most popular ebook : Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Number of times a book (or ebook) by Georges Simenon was checked out in 2018 :104
       ...Anthony Trollope : 73 
...Donna Leon : 202 
...Henry James : 75
...Barbara Pym : 86 (number of ebook checkouts : 70)
Number of times a nonfiction book about World War II was checked out : 471
Number of times a book about Donald Trump, or his term as President, was checked out : 232
Books loaned out via interlibrary loan : 345
Books borrowed via interlibrary loan: 297
Researcher visits to the rare book reading room : 33 (22 individual researchers)
Full-text article downloads from JSTOR : 8,608
Members who signed on to begin using the Cloud Library, our circulating ebook platform : 181
Digital magazines checked out from RB-Digital : 994
Abraham Lincoln biographies in stack 7 : 180
Napoleon I biographies… : 97
Winston Churchill biographies… : 101
Checkouts for An Odyssey: a Father, a Son, and an Epic, by Daniel Mendelsohn : 48
Checkouts for Homer’s The Odyssey (in the new translation by Emily Wilson) : 40
Events in the Members’ Room : 40
Number that were standing-room-only : 16
Largest number of cast members squeezed onto our 16’x6’ performance platform : 10
Event videos added to our streamable collection : 23 
Panel-style events : 6
Total number of panelists involved : 21
Reference Room Teatimes : 248
Whitridge Room Happy Hours : 12
New York City-related books recommended by Library members for our On the Town exhibition : 42
Number of readers who recommended Jack Finney’s Time and Again : 11
Rex Stout books recommended: 2
Giant black & white cookies consumed at the exhibition opening : 4
Number of books reviewed by the jury for the New York City Book Awards : 139
Books selected as winners : 6
Followers of our Instagram account as of mid-December : 1,340
Percent increase in Instagram followers during the year : 143
Book recommendations articles published on our website : 11
Blog posts published on our website : 54
People who liked our Instagram post displaying books about Beantown after losing bet with Boston Athenaeum (damn Yankees) : 117
Boston Athenaeum members who visited the NYSL this year : 20
Live from the Library (Open Mic) evenings since we started inviting members to read from their own work : 19
Total number of readings : 304
Percentage of member readings considered memoir : 15.7
Number of those described as “memwah” : 1
Prompt Workshops in 2018 : 11
Average prompts per session : 2.09
Books consulted thus far in run-up to Women Get the Vote exhibition which opens January 29, 2019 : 70 +
Visitors, not including Library members, who saw The New York World of Willa Cather (October 23, 2017-August 31, 2018) : (just over) 1,000
Checkouts for Dav Pilkey’s books (author of Captain Underpants and Dog Man series) : 61
Checkouts for the 13 volumes in Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series : 64
Checkouts for the Guinness Book of Records : 22 
Entries submitted to the 16th Annual Young Writers Awards : 268
Young artists using the Children’s Library weekend Creation Station on its busiest day in 2018, an unseasonably warm Sunday in January (1/28/18; high temperature of 55) : 28
Storytime and craft programs presented by the children’s librarians : 104
How many pounds of candy the Library distributed to trick-or-treaters : 8

*if you are a member and have published in 2018 or are publishing in 2019, let us know


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