Looking back on 2017, the CEO of the library is sharing which books were most borrowed this year and his hopes for a new main branch in the future.
Steve Kraft, CEO of the Guelph Public Library, said many of the top borrowed adult fiction books this year were mysteries.
The most borrowed adult fiction book this year was John Grisham’s The Whistler, followed by Into the Water by Paula Hawkins.
Mysteries, said Kraft, can be good page turners.
“People have stressful lives these days, there’s a lot going on. You just want to sit down and relax for a few hours and escape,” he said.
All top 10 books borrowed from the junior picture books category this year were by local author Robert Munsch, with Put me in the Book! placing first. The Paper Bag Princess, which is rumoured to soon become a Hollywood movie, was eighth on that list.
The top adult non fiction book borrowed in 2017 was The Official Driver’s Handbook.
“I think that’s fun,” said Kraft.
The second and third most popular in that category were Lemon-Aid New and Used Cars and Trucks and Guinness World Records, respectively.
Kraft notes many of the self-help type books that were popular in the adult non fiction category are full of information that may not be easy to find for free online, or that the online reviews may not be reliable.
In August the library launched its Born to Read program, which offers a literacy kit for newborns.
Each kit includes a board book and a library card guaranteed to be free of fines for two years.
The program was made possible by Friends of the Guelph Public Library, a charity which supports the goals of the library.
A $10,000 donation by the charity supported purchasing copies of Goodnight Moon— a board book included in every kit — as well as a book bag.
The program will continue into 2018.
“We only started it part way through the year and we were really happy with it. It’s been really successful,” said Kraft of the program.
Kraft said the library board will appear before City Council on Feb. 13, 2018 to make the case for a new main branch.
A new main branch is years away, notes Kraft, but if approved will likely be part of the city’s ongoing Baker Street project.
“The main library is inadequate for a city this size. We have really outgrown this location and it’s this location that feeds the branches. We’re the nucleus,” said Kraft.
2017 was the first full year for the library’s new Bookmobile, which services daycare centres, senior’s centres and under-served neighbourhoods in Guelph.
“I think people who were used to the old Bookmobile are happy to see the new one on the road. It carries about the same amount of material,” said Kraft.
Although Kraft said the library doesn’t currently have plans to expand its satellite branches, he said the Bookmobile can offer insight into which neighbourhoods can support a new branch.
“That’s how you test the waters to see where library services are needed,” said Kraft.
This year, the library added to its complement of 3D printers and Virtual Reality libraries and Kraft said their giveaway of 1,000 pair of solar eclipse glasses was very successful.
“That was really cool,” he said.
Kraft said he suggests only one New Year’s resolution for people: “Read. Just read.”
Below are some of the top books and movies borrowed this year from the Guelph Public Library:
The Whistler by John Grisham
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Camino Island by John Grisham
No Man's Land by David Baldacci
Junior Non Fiction
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two by Jack Thorne
National Geographic Kids Almanac: Canadian Edition
Minecraft: Redstone Handbook by Nick Farwell
Minecraft: Beginner's Handbook by Stephanie Milton
Minecraft: Combat Handbook by Stephanie Milton
Adult Non Fiction
The Official Driver's Handbook
Lemon-aid New and Used Cars and Trucks by Louis-Philippe Edmonston
Guinness World Records
The Girl on the Train
Manchester by the Sea