New York Public Library’s Top 10 Checkouts of All Time

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Did you see the New York Public Library’s Top 10 Checkouts of All Time? They published the list this month to mark their 125th anniversary. I bet you know all ten of these books. Six of them are children’s books, but what about Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown? It didn’t make the list, but it made Honorable Mention and here is how the library explains it:

By all measures, this book should be a top checkout (in fact, it might be the top checkout) if not for an odd piece of history: extremely influential New York Public Library children’s librarian Anne Carroll Moore hated Goodnight Moon when it first came out. As a result, the Library didn’t carry it until 1972. That lost time bumped the book off the top 10 list for now. But give it time.

Years ago, libraries weren’t even open to children and, as explained in this recent Washington Post article, Anne Carroll is credited with “introducing an entire generation of children to libraries in the early 20th century.” She just wasn’t a fan of Goodnight Moon and a couple others.

Here are the Top 10 Checkouts:

  1. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  2. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  3. 1984 by George Orwell
  4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  6. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  8. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Thanks very much to K. for sending me this article!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

44 thoughts on “New York Public Library’s Top 10 Checkouts of All Time

    1. She was a real pioneer when it came to establishing children’s libraries – she just didn’t like a few of the books of the time. It is fascinating. Thanks for reading and commenting, Christopher!

    1. I know – me too! I know that book by heart, but that’s only because I read it so many times to my kids. I don’t think I knew it when I was a girl.

  1. Loved to see all of the children’s books on the list. Of course, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend, Barb!

    1. Thanks, Jill. Yes, TKAM is one of my all-time favorites too! I’ve read most of these children’s books, but not Harry Potter (yes, I’m the only one!) Hope you’re keeping warm down there – it’s in the teens here tonight!

      1. I’m glad someone else hasn’t read Harry Potter, Jill. I just never jumped on to the hype! We’re supposed to get 1-4 inches today – this is my work weekend so we will see what happens 😬

      2. It was all good, Jill. We got out early because of the snow. It got very icy later, but then it melted away on Sunday. Fine with me – not a fan of driving in snowy conditions!

  2. This is incredible! I wonder if there’s the same thing here for any of our prolific libraries. There’s some really awesome titles which really don’t surprise me at all. Thanks so much for sharing. Xx

    1. I’d love to have access to any library’s data and do some database geekery. Creating lists like this is the most fun part of working with big data. Getting access is the tricky part.

    1. You, Jill and I are, I think, the only ones who haven’t read Harry Potter! Another blogging friend (Erica/Erika) and I were commenting on the Dale Carnegie book. I was surprised that it made the list, but I see that it’s still popular at our library. Thanks for the visit.

  3. I’m familiar with all these books. Thanks for posting the list; you have “snooping” abilities I don’t have, so I find your blog most helpful.

    It’s hard to believe that “Years ago, libraries weren’t even open to children!”


    1. Hi Marian – if you’re on Twitter, you can follow the NY Public Library – they share great information. We take it for granted that children’s libraries have always been around. Our children’s library is always full of action. Thanks for stopping by.

    1. Oh I love that, Lisa. And look how Goodnight Moon is angled on the shelf – not quite flush! That’s so clever. Thanks for telling me about the website 🙂

      1. They have so many gorgeous prints, notecards, pins, etc. I wish I could splurge and have them create my own custom book print!

  4. Barbara, I now have “Goodnight Moon” on a list. I am very privileged to have grandchildren. A good excuse to read children’s books. Especially ones I have never read. Books I would like to reread on your list: “1984” “Charlotte’s Web”. Dale Carnegie’s book is coming up on other lists and podcasts. I have not yet read this. Reading some of the comments….drive safe!

    1. Hi Erica/Erika – I haven’t read Dale Carnegie’s book. I was actually surprised that it’s still popular, but it is definitely circulating! I loved Charlotte’s Web – I re-read it when my kids were younger. Thanks for stopping by!

      1. I highly recommend Carnegie’s books, all of them. Though they’re nearly 100 years old the principles are still valid, and the writing was personal and interesting enough to make them easy to read (unlike, say, The Seven Habits, which while filled with great info is a right trudge to get through.)

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