The Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) branches see millions of visits annually and book trends are tracked throughout the year.
With 12 branches in the south Island and more than six million physical items in circulation – books, DVDs, art supplies and more – staff look forward to seeing what the most popular books are each year.
In 2019, the most borrowed adult fiction book was Washington Black – Greater Victoria author Esi Edugyan’s third novel published in 2018. Michelle Obama’s 2018 memoir, Becoming, was the most popular adult non-fiction book of the year.
By some coincidence, the adult fiction and adult non-fiction genres each had three books tied for ninth place, noted Jessica Woollard, communications officer for the GVPL.
All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Story by Elizabeth Hay, By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz by Max Eisen and Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell tied for ninth for non-fiction and Past Tense by Lee Child, Redemption by David Baldacci and Transcription by Kate Atkinson ranked ninth in the fiction genre.
In the teen genre, the 2017 novel The Marrow Thieves by Metis writer Cherie Dimaline took the number one spot on the top 10 list and in the children’s genre, Minecraft: Guide to Farming by Alex Wiltshire was the most popular for the year.
Woollard pointed out that The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell made the top 10 lists despite having only been released in early September. She’s certain this is a good indicator that the books will make the top 10 lists in 2020 as well.
As the GVPL looks towards 2020, Woollard noted that Saanich residents can expect the Saanich Centennial Branch at the Pearkes arena to reopen. Dates have yet to be confirmed, but crews have been working to repair the damage caused by a flood at the end of August.
Woollard also emphasized that Family Literacy Week is scheduled for the last week of January and Freedom To Read Week – a promotion to encourage the reading of banned and challenged books – will take place at the end of February.
February is also Black History month and the GVPL branches have readings, activities, concerts and more scheduled to feature black writers and artists, Woollard noted.