June 24th, 2018

Library Chat: Judging from ‘hold’ list, adult fiction books most popular

By Medicine Hat News on August 4, 2017.

The Edmonton Journal recently ran an article which listed the top book holds placed across Edmonton Public Library’s (EPL) different branches. If you are interested you can find the article using Pressreader, our online worldwide, multilingual, newspaper resource. Pressreader provides thousands of daily newspapers in addition to a 30-day archive.

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What I found most interesting about the EPL article was that each of the 21 branches had unique hold lists. It’s interesting to see that a third of branches had a non-fiction book at the top of their list. I don’t believe this has been the case at our library even once in my more than seven years here.

These are the EPL non-fiction top holds: “The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well,” “The First Mess Cookbook: Vibrant Plant Based Recipes to Eat Well Through the Seasons,” “Cambridge IELTS” (an English language learning study guide), “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” “How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Surviving/conquering life,” “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” and “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F-: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life.”

At MHPL our top 10 holds are almost always adult fiction books. EPL fiction holds encompassed a wider range and included some that are not newly published: “Anything is Possible” by Elizabeth Strout, “Murder Games” by James Patterson and Howard Roughan, “Camino Island” by John Grisham, “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley, “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” by Madeleine Thien, “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware, “The Whistler” by John Grisham, “Thirteen Reasons Why: A Novel” by Jay Asher, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, “The Thirst” by Jo Nesbo, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” by Arundhati Roy, “Magpie Murders” by Anthony Horowitz and “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins.

MHPL was most similar to EPL’s downtown branch, sharing the top two holds. Although we are a downtown library, I was a bit surprised this branch was the closest match. I think the hold lists underline the idea that each of Edmonton’s large neighbourhoods is unique and best served by a library branch that supports their distinct identity.

At MHPL we do our best to be everything to everyone, which often works out astonishingly well but I’d have to say our patrons only fully agree on two things — one day each year MHPL pancakes are the best in town, thanks to sponsors and volunteers, and we don’t have enough parking when we’re busy with programs.

I imagine the downtown EPL branch also has parking issues but I doubt they have pancakes, so I’d say we’re doing OK.

Shelley Ross is chief librarian at the Medicine Hat Public Library.

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