By the Numbers: Love and Libraries

Stats celebrating the platonic, romantic, and civic love found in books and libraries

January 3, 2022

Stats to honor Valentine’s Day (February 14) and Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 13–19).

Number of public submissions received for Love Letters in Light, a poetry project conceived by artist Leila Hamidi in partnership with Los Angeles County Library (LACL) and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. In May 2021, LED signs were installed at 10 LACL locations and displayed 300 messages (in English and Spanish) of 15 words or fewer that expressed sentiments of heartbreak, hope, and love to the community during the pandemic.

Percentage by which romance book sales between April 2020 and March 2021 increased from the previous 12-month period, according to NPD BookScan.

Number of homemade greetings Shaler North Hills Library in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, received in February 2021, after putting out a call for its “Valentines for Seniors” program. Among the submissions were 20 watercolor valentines from Slippery Rock (Pa.) University students and 25 hearts that a woman hand-crocheted.

Year that San Diego State University (SDSU) named its newly constructed library after Malcolm A. Love, the university’s fourth president. Love is credited with transforming SDSU from a liberal arts college into a comprehensive university during his 19-year tenure. Today Love Library is home to more than 1.6 million books, serials, and media titles.

Number of letters exchanged by US President John Adams and his wife Abigail Smith Adams that are featured in the Massachusetts Historical Society’s digital archive. Described by the society as “warm and informative,” the letters were written between 1762 and 1801 and cover the couple’s courtship, their reactions to the Revolutionary War, news from their farm, and John’s entire political career.

Approximate number of people who showed up to a two-hour “speed-repping” event at Memphis (Tenn.) Public Library’s Whitehaven branch in 2017, designed to encourage one-on-one conversations with local leaders and promote civic engagement. Branch manager Jamie Griffin got the idea to use a speed-dating format for the event from an episode of Sex and the City.

Number of years Valentine (Neb.) Public Library has served its community. Valentine is nicknamed the Heart City, and the library celebrated its 100th anniversary last year with an “I Love My Library” bookmark contest.


Meet the 2021 I Love My Librarian Award Winners

ALA honors 10 librarians for outstanding service

Cruise: The Guide to Gay Entertainment in the Southeast. Photo: Queer Music Heritage

By the Numbers: Pride Month

Stats celebrating the LGBTQ experience in literature, collections, and American culture