The Tyler Public Library may not be functioning at one hundred percent, but the demand for books is higher than ever.    

The library can be a lifesaver during a regular summer, and during a pandemic, the services are even more popular.

Overdrive is the engine that powers EBooks at most libraries around the country, and they said libraries were already seeing huge numbers before the shutdowns started in March.  EBook use was at an all-time high in 2019, and in fact, between schools and public libraries, we checked out 326 million EBooks last year.  With all the time at home so far this year, EBook downloads are up by about fifty percent.

Hard copies are popular too.  My girls and I regularly place holds on our favorite books, and before the pandemic, we would see one or two hold shelves when we would go to the library to pick up the books.  Now, I hear, it's more like ten to twelve shelves containing holds, and libraries are having to rearrange furniture to make new space for all of the hold requests.

The Tyler Public Library has been open for the past month with modified hours (10 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday), and no more than 30 people can be inside at a time.

The easiest way to check out a book might be the self-pickup for hold items.  We use that a lot and the kids and I love it.  They tell me what book they want to read (which is usually a Big Nate or one of the books from the Warriors series), and I place the hold on the library's website.  A notification comes to my email when it's ready, and it's sitting on the hold shelf for us when we arrive to pick it up.  The girls usually start reading the book on the way home.

There are hundreds of businesses that are finding new ways to deliver with all of the new restrictions and closures, and I love it when I notice that all of the hard work is paying off with more demand, and not less.  Woohoo for the library.

The Tyler Public Library is at 201 S College Avenue in Tyler.