Fascinating Facts: April-June 2020

Written by Erin, staff member, Collection Development

April through June 2020 proved to be a very unique time for Halifax. With Halifax shut down to help control the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the chance of overwhelming our healthcare system, organizations had to adapt quickly.

At Halifax Public Libraries, we focused our energy on increasing our online services and engaging with our communities via our Virtual Library. We focused on sharing recommended e-reading lists posted weekly, hosting virtual events for people of all ages, and running fun book battles on Instagram and Facebook. We launched Kanopy, a new streaming service for movies and tv shows, and brought Ancestry Library Edition into the homes of our community members while we were closed.

Staff were also busy delivering snack packs, activity packs, and veggie bundles. In June, we launched our Curbside Pick-up service—this was an exciting time for our staff and public alike!

Read on for some fun insights from April 1 through June 30, 2020.

Digital access

Our online resources were extremely popular during the closure. We welcomed 2,710 new digital library card holders during this period.

Thank you for visiting our 'online branch'! Here are the circulation stats for some of our most popular online resources:

OverDrive: 338,618 checkouts

hoopla: 21,747 circulations

Kanopy: 13,103 plays

PressReader: 217,343 articles read

rbDigital: 40,670 magazine checkouts 

Trending titles

It is always fun to see which books and movies were the most popular at our Library. Here are the top titles (searches, holds, and borrows) for OverDrive, hoopla, and Kanopy for April through June.

The OverDrive stats focus on digital books added to our OverDrive collection between April 1 and June 30, 2020.

1. OverDrive books for children

The most popular fiction book for middle grades was Becoming Brianna by Terri Libenson, while Africville by Shauntay Grant takes the cake for picture books, and Guide to Survival: Minecraft by Mojang Ab tops the list for juvenile nonfiction.

Becoming Brianna


Guide to Survival

2. OverDrive books for teens

The top titles included The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reylonds & Ibram X. Kendi, and The Betrothed by Kiera Cass.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Stamped--Racism, Antiracism, and You

The Betrothed


3. OverDrive books for adults

Hideaway by Nora Roberts; The Guest List by Lucy Foley, and Walk the Wire: Amos Decker Series, Book 6 by David Baldacci were the adult titles with the most holds.


The Guest List

Walk the Wire


4. hoopla movies

The top three movies checked out were The Gentlemen, An Unfinished Life, and The Lighthouse.

5. hoopla books for children and teens

Audiobooks were the shining star on hoopla for youth. The top three books borrowed were all audiobooks, and included Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems.  

6. hoopla books for adults

Non-fiction books for adults were the most popular. The top three titles included So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad, and The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown.

7. Kanopy children’s titles

When Carl Met George / D.W. Swims with the Fishes, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and Giraffes Can’t Dance were the three most played children’s videos.

8. Kanopy adult titles 

Call Me By Your Name, I Am Not Your Negro, and Transit were the most played adult videos.

Staying in touch, while apart

While our physical branches were closed and all in-person events cancelled, our digital doors were open!

  • From English Language Learning, Acoustic Song Circles, and Virtual Knitting for Adults to online storytimes, parent and baby yoga, teen nights, and everything in between, the Library offered over 600 virtual events and one-on-one virtual meet-ups between April 1 and June 30. 
  • Our staff were also busy creating videos for everyone to enjoy at anytime. 50 videos were created in this time period and viewed over 63,000 times. They all can still be found in our Virtual Library, and we're pleased to continue virtual events and staff-created videos moving forward.
  • We were pleased to answer 5,094 questions from community members via our various Ask the Library channels during this time. You can continue to reach out to us in this way, and we will be happy to help, or just chat!

We look forward to sharing our next quarterly update with you in the fall!