Naperville library visitors returning at close to pre-pandemic levels

  • Naperville Public Library officials say visitors are starting to return at close to pre-pandemic levels.

      Naperville Public Library officials say visitors are starting to return at close to pre-pandemic levels. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Updated 2/22/2022 6:19 PM

Naperville Public Library officials reported higher circulation and visitor numbers last year compared to 2020. But the three facilities still are working to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Executive Director Dave Della Terza presented the annual report to the library board, stressing there's still a ways to go in returning to normalcy.


"I'm hoping, even right now, we're still not in a normal year," Della Terza said. "We had omicron going on in January, so I still think our numbers are going to be up and down for a little while."

Della Terza said nearly every category of usage increased from 2020 to 2021. That includes a return to more than three million total checkouts. In fact, circulation surpassed 3.2 million in 2021.

Library visits at the Nichols, Naper Boulevard and 95th Street locations exceeded a total of 871,000, although Della Terza said that represents about 57% of what the numbers were in 2019. And even with circulation topping three million, that's still 85% of 2019 numbers.

The one area that saw a drop from 2020 was digital circulation, which fell from 19.5% of total circulation to 15.9 percent in 2021. Della Terza said the drop was to be expected after library materials were only available digitally during the peak of the pandemic in 2020.

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Still, he noted digital checkouts represented only 10$ of circulation four years ago. The numbers still are trending upward.

"It is nice to see our numbers rebounding, and it's nice to see our circulation back over 3 million," Della Terza said. "Things are going in a good direction. Everything basically seems to be up.

"I hope we're heading to a more normal year," he said.

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