More books were checked out of Huntsville area libraries than anywhere else in Alabama


MADISON, Ala. – There are more people checking out books from libraries in the Huntsville area than anywhere else in the state.

There was more than four times the number of books checked out of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library system last year than the number of people who live in the area.

Among the system’s 11 locations, the Madison Library is the most popular location with as many as 5,000 books checked out per day.

There were so many books checked out of the Madison Library last spring that they ran out of children’s books – and have since balanced things out.

“What we’re really excited about is the fact that we’ve been able to adapt to the pandemic,” said Melanie Thornton, Director of Public Relations for the library system. “One of the first things we did when we reopened was we established curbside service. It was so popular that people had asked us to keep it.”

In simple terms: people love libraries in the Huntsville area.

“Last year we circulated about 1.9 million items,” Thronton said. “Just to give you a point of reference, the next busiest library system is Mobile and they circulated about 1.6 million.”

To put that in perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated about 471,000 people living in the Huntsville metro area in 2020.

“We have a large community of readers here,” Thornton said. “Communities really have embraced the new role that libraries have played. We have adapted the way we serve our communities over time.”

Of the 1.9 million books checked out last year, about one million were in print form.

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