These Are the New York Public Library's Most Checked Out Books of All Time
To celebrate the New York Public Library’s 125th anniversary, the institution calculated the top 10 most checked out books in its long history. The NYPL explains, “Since The New York Public Library’s founding in 1895, millions of books have been checked out by patrons of all ages throughout the city. In honor of the 125th anniversary, a team of experts from the Library carefully evaluated a series of key factors to determine the most borrowed books, including 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.” The methodology takes into account the length of the book, because, the NYPL explains, “The shorter the book, the more turnover or circulation. This is why children’s books are often among the most circulated.” Being on school reading lists also makes a difference because, the NYPL says, “If a book has been on school lists for many decades, it is more likely to be a top checkout.”
An honorable mention on the list is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, which the library didn’t put on its shelves until 1972 but has become very popular (and a top checkout) over the intervening decades. On the top-ten list are picture books, children’s books, and novels, many of which are classics that people across the country and across the world grew up reading. Read on for the list of the top 10 most frequently checked out books in the 125-year history of the NYPL, and pick up one to read or share with your kids this season.