Library Blog

The Society Library Index: Pandemic Edition (March 16, 2020 – March 16, 2021)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

For several years, we have been compiling a numbers-based snapshot of goings-on at the Library. This time, we’ve compiled most of the figures beginning with the closure of the Library building on March 16, 2020, through our gradual reopening, to the present date.

Years passed since the Library’s founding: 266
Years we have been open: 252 (The Library was closed for 14 years during the American Revolution, reopening in 1789)
Months closed during the COVID-19 pandemic: 3
Percentage membership decline since COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020: 25% (please join or renew! we need you!)
New memberships since pandemic began: 274 (thank you! New Members' Party coming up in June!)

Books checked out in the 3 days before the building closed on 3/16/20: 1,359
Checkouts each hour during those 3 days: 68
Novels checked out: just under 500
Copies of Giovanni Bocaccio’s The Decameron checked out: 3
Albert Camus’ The Plague: 4
Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year: 3
Agatha Christie: 17

Books borrowed before pandemic and still checked out at our grand reopening on 6/22/2020: 4,386
Still checked out one year later: 454 (please bring these back, pretty please? No fines, we promise!)

Head Librarian’s COVID-19 Response updates to membership: 14
Updates to membership in March 2020 alone: 6
Video updates: 4

Video meetings of the directors of the Membership Library Group: 35

Views for Stacy Schiff’s Library fundraising appeal video: 1,051
# donors to the spring and fall appeals: 685 (Help us out so we can beat this figure this year!)

Virtual Storytimes: 46
Views for Children's Library Make-Ice-Cream-in-a bag YouTube video: 66
Book Bundles borrowed by families: 95

Young Writers Award entries: 143 (hurry! this year's entries are due April 6!)
Winners: 6 + 6 honorable mentions

Member writers who published books in 2020: 44
Member writer published books (that we know of!*): 53
Attendees for our 1st Live from Your Living Room member reading: 30
Live from Your Living Room readers: 11
Readers from Milan, Italy: 1

Images in our City Readers gallery related to book-cover designer Margaret Armstrong: 30
Views of event video Lowell Thing on his collection of Margaret Armstrong book covers: 471
Gretchen Rubin’s video on Happier at (Quarantine) Home: 525
Meredith Talusan video on Fairest: A Memoir: 335

Attendees at our first Black Literature Matters event on the 1700s: 128
At our second event on the 1800s: 122

Patrons who videorecorded themselves reading favorite poems for April 2020’s Poem in Your Pocket Day: 9
New York City Book Award winners in May 2020: 5
Digital Teatimes: 47

New ebook users set up in the Cloud Library: 314
Ebook checkouts: 8,986
Jane Austen e-book checkouts: 83

Searches performed in JSTOR: 12,241

Books-by-mail members: 46
Books-by-mail packages sent: 163

Book Recommendations articles posted: 14
Blog posts published: 63
Number of them about “Our Indoor World” (bread, jam, ice cream, knitting): 4

Weekly open hours before pandemic: 61
During pandemic: 51
Nights Building Superintendent Chris Henry spent in the building: 1
New hand sanitizing stations: 5
Statues wearing masks: 4
Seats in Hornblower before pandemic: 30
During pandemic: 12

*if you are a member and published a book in 2020 or publishing in 2021, let us know! Email


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