The Greater Victoria Public Library’s Most Borrowed Book List

Barack Obama continues to rule the nonfiction section of the Greater Victoria Public Library, where his book A promised land leads the top-10 loan list.

Michelle Obama keeps it all with the family and rounds out the list with her book Turn into.

Both were also on the list last year.

Other frequently borrowed titles include: Where the crayfish sing by Delia Owens in Adult Fiction and Lincoln Pierce’s The gerbil ate my homework in the children’s section, according to the GVPL, which has compiled the ranking of its 12 branches and virtual branch on gvpl.ca.

All formats are included: print, large print, digital and audiobooks.

GVPL chief executive Maureen Sawa said it’s not surprising given the challenging events of the past year that books with themes such as “hope, resilience and embracing life” topped the most borrowed lists.

Rachel Rogers, the GVPL’s collections and technical services coordinator, said many of the titles listed were particularly popular in digital format, “a trend we see continuing from the start of the pandemic in 2020.”

Borrowers had access to more than 1.8 million digital items by 2021.

Graphic books remain popular among young readers in fields such as science fiction and fantasy, Rogers said.

“We also have the Netflix effect with the new series Shadow and Bone creating a renewed demand for Leigh Bardugo’s popular Grishaverse novels.”

The system also saw an increase in interest in adult fiction and historical fiction, Rogers said. “Normally Victoria is big on mysteries and thrillers — those are usually the super popular stuff.”

With non-fiction, she said that audiobooks have attracted a lot of people, especially memoirs. “People were really interested in not only reading the memoirs, but hearing them in the voices of the people themselves.”

That has led to a run on books like the Obamas.

“I’ve anecdotally heard of people reading the book and then listening to it because they wanted to hear the Obamas speak in their own voice,” Rogers said.

After a period of closures in some branches due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the system is back in full operation and all branches have been open since last fall, she said. “There are a few spaces that are not open yet, but all branches and all collections are open.”

Rogers said the goal is to gradually restore the services to ensure they are safe and sustainable for both customers and staff. “By doing it in phases, we’ve had a chance to make sure we’re not doing something that we should be reversing.”

jbell@timecolonist.com

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