Lately, we’ve been writing a lot about the relentless attacks on libraries by craven gangs of “concerned parents” mobilized by Republican rhetoric and Facebook, so today it’s my pleasure to shine the light on some more fun library news. For the past month, in honor of its 125th birthday, the Brooklyn Public Library has been counting down its 125 most-borrowed books of all time, and today, Gothamist released the top five.
Overall, the list is as eclectic as you might expect for an enormous urban library system. There are plenty of standard high school required reading titles (The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, and To Kill a Mockingbird all cracked the top 20), and there’s also a surprising (to me, at least) number of manga titles. Number 109 on the list is Cathy East Dubowski’s Shark Attack! revealing that if one thing kids love to read about, it’s terrifying nature shit.
The majority of the places are held by children’s books. Dr. Seuss books take up 17 places, and every Harry Potter book except the final one are on there (plus Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). Eric Carle, Ezra Jack Keats, and Mo Willems all appear multiple times, and though Maurice Sendak only features once, he makes it count: Where the Wild Things Are is number one on the list.
Here are the top five books:
1. Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
2. Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day
3. Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat
4. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
5. PD Eastman, Are You My Mother?
You can browse the whole list here. And happy birthday to the Brooklyn Public Library!