BWW News: NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY Reveals Top 10 Check-Outs of All Time & Honors #1 with Limited Edition Library Card Design!

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BWW News: NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY Reveals Top 10 Check-Outs of All Time & Honors #1 with Limited Edition Library Card Design!

It's a new decade, and everyone has been making lists and finding something new to track. For the New York Public Library, what better thing to track than books? Only, instead of looking at the last decade, NYPL looked at its 125 year history and made a list of the top ten checked-out books of all time.

Topping the list at #1 is the 1962 Caldecott Medal Award-Winning picture book THE SNOWY DAY by Ezra Jack Keats, which has been checked out a whopping 485,583 times.

To celebrate this enormous feat, this year, NYPL will issue limited-edition library cards featuring the book on its front:

BWW News: NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY Reveals Top 10 Check-Outs of All Time & Honors #1 with Limited Edition Library Card Design!

The front will also celebrate this year's 125th anniversary of the library. Details on how to get the card can be found here.

NYPL states,

"New cardholders who live, work, attend school, or pay property taxes in New York State are eligible to receive a New York Public Library card free of charge. Anyone with an existing NYPL card is welcome to get a Snowy Day card at one of our locations for the card replacement fee of $1. The Snowy Day card is available on a first come, first served basis in extremely limited quantities."

To choose the Top 10 Most-Checked Out Titles of All Time, the library evaluated many factors, including circulation date, modes such as print or e-book, trends, popularity, and more.

Here is a full list of the Top Ten many have you read?

#1: THE SNOWY DAY by Ezra Jack Keats (485,583 checkouts)

#2: THE CAT IN THE HAT by Dr. Seuss (469,650 checkouts)

#3: 1984 by George Orwell (441,770 checkouts)

#4: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak (436,016 checkouts)

#5: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee (422,912 checkouts)

#6: CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E.B. White (337,948 checkouts)

#7: FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury (316,404 checkouts)

#8: HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE by Dale Carnegie (284,524 checkouts)

#9: HARRY POTTER AND THE SOCERER'S STONE by J.K. Rowling (231,022 checkouts)

#10: THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR by Eric Carle (189,550 checkouts)


GOODNIGHT MOON by Margaret Wise Brown

About its Honorable Mention, NYPL states,

Helping soothe countless children to sleep since it was first published in 1947, Goodnight Moon is one of the best-selling kids books of all time. The pattern and rhythm of words creates an almost unexplainable magic, especially when read out loud, charming children with the cozy and comfortable world of the familiar. By all measures, this book should be a top checkout (in fact, it might be the top checkout) if not for an odd piece of history: extremely influential New York Public Library children's librarian Anne Carroll Moore hated Goodnight Moon when it first came out. As a result, the Library didn't carry it until 1972. That lost time bumped the book off the top 10 list for now. But give it time.

Here is a list of the credentials NYPL used to create its Top Ten List, pulled directly from its website:

A Note on Methodology

How did we possibly determine the top 10 checkouts of all time, you may ask? Well, we got together a team of experts here at the Library, who carefully evaluated a series of key factors. In addition to historic checkout and circulation data, overall trends, current events, popularity, length of time in print, and presence in the Library catalog, some other key factors included:

  • Length: The shorter the book, the more turnover or circulation. This is why children's books are often among the most circulated.

  • Length of time in print: Clearly, the longer a story is in print, the longer the public has to check it out.

  • Languages available: In a city like New York, the more languages a title is available in means more checkouts.

  • Universal appeal: The more a story appeals to different tastes, the more checkouts it will receive

  • Current events: Particularly with adult books, what is happening in the world greatly impacts checkouts.

  • School: If a book has been on school lists for many decades, it is more likely to be a top checkout.

  • Awards and acknowledgment: Awards generate awareness and excitement that then generate checkouts.

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From This Author Bonnie Lynn Wagner