Wednesday 10 December 2014

Most Borrowed Authors and Titles in Irish Public Libraries

The popularity of libraries among children and their families continues to escalate, as highlighted by figures for 2013 released by Libraries Development, Local Government Management Agency. In the top 100 ‘most borrowed from the library’, children’s authors dominated this list in Ireland’s 336 public libraries in 2013. Nine children’s authors made it into the top ten, with Roderick Hunt, creator of over 400 titles in the Oxford Reading Tree series, the most popular author for the fifth successive year with almost 160,000 library loans.

Classic stories remain among children’s favourites with renowned authors such as Enid Blyton, Roger Hargreaves and Roald Dahl in the top ten list of children’s authors, alongside Daisy Meadows, Francesca Simon, and Jacqueline Wilson. Another world classic, Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, continues to engage young readers sixty-seven years after the first publication of the diary, through poignant account of life during the Holocaust.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by American author Jeff Kinney is overwhelmingly popular and takes the top six places on the most borrowed titles list. This series of books which highlights the adventures of school boy Greg Heffley, has become even more popular following the series of films based on the books. A new entry to the top ten of children’s author’s in 2013 was Michael Morpurgo, a multi-prize winning author and former Children’s Laureate who has published over 100 books.

The figures for adult loans show that crime thrillers remain in high demand among library users. For the fourth successive year, prolific US writer James Patterson is the most popular adult fiction author with over 68,000 library loans. In total, six authors writing in the crime and thriller genres appear in the list of top 10 most borrowed adult fiction authors. Another American favourite, Nora Roberts, who also writes as J.D. Robb, is the second most-borrowed general fiction author with over 61,000 loans. The much acclaimed Norwegian crime writer, Jo Nesbø, also featured in the top ten. Nesbø’s popularity among Irish readers was also reflected during his visit to the Mountains To Sea Book Festival in Dun Laoghaire last year when many fans turned out to chat with the writer about his main protagonist, Inspector Harry Hole.

Irish writers and illustrators, both children’s and adult, are also attracting a steady following, with 14 featuring in the top 100. Irish children’s author Judi Curtin, creator of the Alice and Megan and Evaseries, was the most borrowed Irish author for the second year running. Irish fiction remains dominant in the lists for Irish writers; with 22 Irish fiction titles making it into the top 100.

The influence of the Dublin City Library’s initiative, Dublin: One City, One Book, is reflected in James Plunkett’s Strumpet City making first place as the most borrowed adult fiction title by an Irish author. The second most borrowed adult fiction title by an Irish writer was A Week in Winter, the last novel written by the much loved author, Maeve Binchy. The winner of the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2013 also attracted the attention of many readers, with Kevin Barry’s winning debut novel, City of Bohane, the fourth most borrowed adult fiction title last year.

The most borrowed non-fiction book was based on a more pragmatic choice by Irish readers; the Official Driver Theory Test was the most popular in this category.

There are over 17.04 million visits to Irish public libraries each year, resulting in over 19 million loans of books and non-book materials. Under the Public Lending Remuneration (PLR) scheme, payment is made to authors, illustrators, etc. whose books are borrowed from the country’s 336 public libraries. The loan lists are compiled by Libraries Development, Local Government Management Agency, from information supplied to the Public Lending Remuneration (PLR) Scheme by all public libraries in Ireland. 16,334 authors resident in 43 countries were registered for Irish PLR in 2013. €240,000 was paid out to 5,483 authors in respect of their total library loans. 17 authors received the maximum payment of €1,000, and the rate-per-loan was 5.06 cent. PLR is funded by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

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