Here Are the Most Checked-Out Books in the History of New York City's Public Library
Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day topped the list, followed by Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat
The Snowy Day is New York City’s most wanted!
The award-winning children’s picture book, written by Ezra Jack Keats, topped New York City’s Public Library list for the most checked-out books in its 125-year history, according to new research from the public library system.
A team of experts at the library determined that The Snowy Day, which follows an African American boy named Peter who explores his neighborhood after the first snowfall of the season, had been checked out 485,583 times since the library’s opening in 1895.
Following closely behind in the top 5 list were The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss with 469,650 checkouts, 1984 by George Orwell with 441,770 checkouts, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak with 436,016 checkouts, and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee with 422,912 checkouts.
The other books that rounded out the list include Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
A sole honorable mention was given to Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown — a book that researchers believe would have made it in the top 10 if it had been carried in the library from the time it was published.
Interestingly enough, experts noted in their research that children’s librarian Anne Carroll Moore disliked Goodnight Moon so much when it first came out in 1947 that she refused to carry it in the New York Public Library. It wasn’t until 1972 that the system finally obtained the book, which significantly impacted its numbers when calculating the recent checkout list.
While compiling the first-ever list, the library said a team of researchers worked together and considered a number of key factors.
Historic checkout and circulation data for all formats, including e-books, overall trends, current events, popularity, length of time in print, and presence in the library catalog were all taken into consideration when collecting their data and research.
Andrew Medlar, the head of the library’s book-buying operations team and worked on the list, told The New York Times that the process took more than six months to complete.
“There was a little bit of art to the science of doing this,” he told the outlet. “The idea was to see what has been generally popular out in the world. We wanted to start from the love of books and the love of reading rather than the numbers.”
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The New York City Public Library is one of the largest library systems in the United States and the world, its website states.
There are currently 92 locations throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, that see approximately 16 million visitors annually. Millions more from all over the world use the public library’s resources online.
This year, the library is celebrating its 125th anniversary by sharing book lists, launching public programs, sending “Book of the Day” emails, and holding a gala, among others.