List of most borrowed books from the Greater Victoria Public Library

Barack Obama continues to dominate the non-fiction section of the Greater Victoria Public Library, where his book A promised land leads the list of top 10 borrowers.

Keeping it all about family, Michelle Obama completes the list with her book To become.

Both were also on the list last year.

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

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

GVPL chief executive Maureen Sawa said that given the difficult events of the past year, it’s no surprise that books on the themes of “hope, resilience and embracing life” are at the top of the most borrowed lists.

Rachel Rogers, GVPL’s Collections and Technical Services Coordinator, said many of the titles listed were particularly popular in digital format, “a trend we’ve seen continue since the pandemic began in 2020.”

Borrowers accessed over 1.8 million digital items in 2021.

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

“We also have the Netflix effect with the new series shadow and bone creating renewed demand for Leigh Bardugo’s popular Grishaverse novels.

The system has also seen growing interest in adult fiction and historical fiction, Rogers said. “Normally Victoria is big on mysteries and thrillers – those are usually the most popular stuff.”

Along with non-fiction, she said audiobooks got a lot of traction, especially memoirs. “People were really interested in not only reading the memoirs, but also hearing them in the voices of the people themselves.”

This has meant a rush for books like those written by the Obamas.

“I’ve heard anecdotally from people saying they read the book and then listened to it as well, because they wanted to hear the Obamas speak in their own voice,” Rogers said.

After a period of closures at some branches due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the system is fully operational again, with all branches open since last fall, she said. “There are a few spaces that aren’t open yet, but all branches and collections are open.”

Rogers said the goal is to gradually restore services to ensure they are safe and sustainable for customers and staff. “Doing it in a phased approach gave us a chance to make sure we weren’t doing something that we would have to undo.”

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