The NY Public Library’s Most Checked-Out Books EVER

When you are around for 125 years, you collect some pretty interesting data. To celebrate their quasquicentennial (that’s really the word for a 125-year anniversary), they crunched the numbers to determine the ten most rented books in the library’s history.

So what factors determine if a book would make the list? Well, it would have to be around a long time, obviously. Short books get returned faster, so they would get checked-out at higher rates.

Here are the top 10:

  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 (only non-fiction book in the top ten)

  9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling: 231,022 checkouts

  10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: 189,550 checkouts

I would love if EVERY library could do this! It would be fascinating to compare states, regions and cities to see if there are any trends or patterns in renting books.

The Chicago Public Library, formed in 1872 (that’s 148 years), is much older than New York’s counterpart, so digging into the data for comparison would be wonderful! The Joliet Public Library was formed just four years after Chicago’s! Aurora’s library opened it’s doors in 1881, just five years after Joliet.

What was the last book you checked out from a library?