Post Date: January 13, 2020

CW MARS Announces Record One Million Ebook and Audiobook Checkouts in 2019

Top 25 public library consortium worldwide in total digital circulation

CW MARS achieved a record-breaking one million digital book checkouts in 2019, a milestone for this library consortium consisting of 149 member libraries, including Worcester Public Library and Springfield Public Library. This accomplishment illustrates the continued growth and importance of library lending of ebooks and audiobooks along with the creative ways libraries have served their communities with digital services. CW MARS is one of 73 systems around the world – including standalone libraries and consortia – that surpassed one million checkouts through Rakuten OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform and its award-winning app Libby (complete list here).

"OverDrive demand and checkouts continue to grow,” said Jeanette Lundgren, Executive Director at CW MARS. “When we first offered our OverDrive collection in 2005, it took over nine years to reach our first million circulations. In 2018 we had over 1 million check-outs in one calendar year and in 2019 we reached one million checkouts in 9 months!” Betsy Perry, Director at Sutton Free Public Library, added “OverDrive delivers audiobooks and ebooks to patrons who want them - anytime and anywhere!"

CW MARS libraries have been providing readers 24/7 access to ebooks and audiobooks for several years. Reader interest and usage has grown every year, reflecting popular trends and interests both locally and across the country. In 2019, the highest-circulating title across both formats CW MARS readers borrowed through OverDrive was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The top-circulating genre, thrillers, represents the most popular in a vast catalog that also includes fantasy, romance and children/young adult.

The top 5 ebook titles borrowed through CW MARS' digital collection in 2019:

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

2. Educated by Tara Westover

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

4. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The top 5 audiobook titles borrowed through CW MARS' digital collection in 2019:

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

2. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

3. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5. Educated by Tara Westover

Named one of Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the 2010s and one of PCMag’s Best Free Software of 2019, Libby seamlessly connects first-time users and experienced readers with the popular digital collections of libraries. Readers may browse the library’s digital collection, instantly borrow titles and start reading or listening for free with a valid library card.

Readers in central and western Massachusetts just need a valid CW MARS library card to access digital books from CW MARS' OverDrive-powered digital collection. Readers can use any major device, including iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ and Windows®. With Libby, readers can also “send to Kindle®” devices and apps [US only]. All titles will automatically expire at the end of the lending period and there are no late fees. Readers can also download titles onto Libby for offline use.

Visit or download the Libby app to get started and borrow ebooks and audiobooks anytime, anywhere.


CW MARS is a diverse multi-type library consortium made up of 149 member libraries located in Central and Western Massachusetts. CW MARS is the largest of nine library consortia in Massachusetts. Our membership is made up of academic, public, and special libraries of all sizes, from tiny towns with populations under 500 to large urban libraries with many branches. We were formed in 1984 to promote the sharing of resources between libraries.

About Rakuten OverDrive

OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide. Named one of Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the 2010s and one of PCMag’s Best Free Software of 2019, the award-winning Libby is the "one-tap reading app" for libraries. We are dedicated to “a world enlightened by reading” by delivering the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and other digital media to a growing network of 43,000 libraries and schools in 76 countries. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten.

Media Contact: Jeanette Lundgren, CW MARS,


Post Date: December 12, 2019

Your privacy is important to us!

We are adding more account security to better protect user privacy.

Beginning on January 21, 2020 please use your password/pin along with your library card number to access the CW MARS OverDrive collection for placing holds and checking out library econtent (ebooks, emagazines and audiobooks).

Use the same credentials as your CW MARS account login.

For more details visit the My Account help page.

To reset your account password see the Password Reset page.

For assistance, please contact your local library


Post Date: November 25, 2019

CW MARS Launched an updated website on Monday November 25th using the new Google Sites. The site is mobile-friendly and will automatically adjust to the best layout for your device whether you are using a computer monitor, phone, or tablet.

We've also updated our help documentation and reorganized our menus to make content easier to find. Have feedback to share? Contact your local library


Post Date: November 7, 2019

CW MARS is thrilled to welcome our newest member libraries:

Over the next months we will be working with them to add their collections to our shared online catalog.


Post Date: October 14, 2019

CW MARS Libraries wrote to Macmillan Publishers CEO, John Sargent to express their disappointment with the Macmillan ebook embargo planned to start on November 1st. The embargo restricts libraries to purchase one copy of a title during the first 8 weeks (2 months) from the date it was released. Libraries are expecting long wait times for these titles and are concerned about being unable to meet the needs of frustrated readers.

"This embargo punishes those who are most likely to rely on libraries. It perpetuates the digital divide and promotes inequity in access. Libraries are unable to serve the needs of patrons by purchasing additional copies. The assumption that during the 8 week embargo, sales from patrons will exceed what libraries would have spent on content is unrealistic. It is disheartening that you discount the sales that do happen as a direct result of library borrowing, discovery and promotion.

We implore you to work with libraries to provide equitable access to content for all readers. Our libraries have a responsibility to their patrons to provide access in multiple formats. Publisher embargos create a barrier to access that we can not support." Read Full Letter Here.

For more details on publisher restrictions on libraries see the OverDrive FAQ.

Join the campaign and sign the petition to demand #ebooksforall at


Post Date: October 4, 2019

Blackstone Audio has changed their policy for library audiobook availability. Starting in July 2019, library availability for select Blackstone titles will be delayed 3 months from their initial release date. The library community is disappointed in Blackstone’s decision. Library digital content suppliers are in ongoing dialogue with Blackstone to advocate a policy change. You may email Blackstone directly to provide feedback at


Post Date: July 10, 2019

On July 1, 2019 CW MARS turned on a new feature to allow checked-out physical materials that are able to be renewed to renew automatically.

Library patrons no longer have to remember to log into their account to renew the items they have checked out. If an item has a renewal available, it will automatically renew on the due date.

An email notification will be sent on the due date alerting patrons that a renewal has been attempted for your items. Check the body of the email to find out whether your items were successfully renewed or were unable to be renewed.

Items will not renew under the following circumstances:

  • if the maximum amount of renewals have already been reached
  • if you have fines totaling more than $10 on your account
  • if your account has expired

All CW MARS member libraries are participating in auto-renewal. This means that no matter which CW MARS library your materials are from, they will automatically renew on the due date if a renewal is available.

CW MARS and our libraries are committed to making borrowing materials as convenient and easy as possible!


Post Date: June 18, 2019

Visit any CW MARS library
Return material to any CW MARS library

In May of 2019 CW MARS launched a public awareness campaign to promote awareness of the power of a CW MARS library card.

Use your local CW MARS library card to:

  • Check out materials at any CW MARS public library across the state
  • Place holds on materials from any CW MARS library
  • Return materials at any CW MARS library

A CW MARS library card gives access to:

  • Over eight million physical items (books, DVDs, audiobooks, etc.)
  • Over 65,000 e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-magazines

AND, if a CW MARS library doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can get it from another library from across the state.

What do you love about your CW MARS Network? As part of the One Card, Many Libraries campaign, CW MARS libraries would also like to hear from residents about what’s important to them.

Residents can share their comments at: