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Brooklyn Public Library reveals its most borrowed book ever to celebrate 125 years

Children read outdoors at an event organized by the Brooklyn Public Library in New York City in August 1950.
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Children read outdoors at an event organized by the Brooklyn Public Library in New York City in August 1950.

The Brooklyn Public Library has just announced that Where the Wild Things Are is its most borrowed book. Since Oct. 27, the institution has been sharing its 125 most checked-out books throughout its history to celebrate 125 years of service to the Brooklyn community in New York City.

The library has 163 copies of Maurice Sendak's 1963 Caldecott Medal-winning book. The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) considered multiple factors when coming up with its list, such as years since publication, bestseller lists and checkout and circulation data, it said in a news release.

The next most popular book is The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, which in 2020 was revealed to be the New York Public Library's most borrowed book on its own 125th birthday.

An early edition of <em>Where the Wild Things Are</em>, by Maurice Sendak.
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An early edition of Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.

Children's books make up the majority of the list, as picture books are quick to read and return, and many parents visit libraries with their children — and find nostalgia when they get there. Referring to The Snowy Day in 2020, Andrew Medlar, then the director of the New York Public Library's BookOps selection team, said, "They remember when they first heard it, and they want to share that experience with their kids."

BPL took to Twitter to thank all the authors on its book list — which also included Dr. Seuss, Emily Brontë, Harper Lee, Louisa May Alcott and Eric Carle — for their contributions to the literary world.

In 1896, the Brooklyn Common Council decided to establish a library to nourish "the minds of the people and lay the foundation of a better civilization for the future."

A child reaches for a book at a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in August 1950.
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A child reaches for a book at a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in August 1950.

Nearly two dozen branches sprang up soon after, thanks in large part to funding from Andrew Carnegie. Today, 61 branches span the borough.

BPL also stated that it has outreach sites in schools, homeless shelters, senior centers and jails. It marked its billionth checkout in 2021.

"Here's to 125 years of Brooklyn stories. We're looking forward to the next chapter. Join us as we celebrate our past and look with great excitement toward the next 125 years," BPL stated on its website.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Halisia Hubbard