Australia’s favourite library books

Libraries list top ten borrowed books across four categories

Monday, 25 May 2015, Canberra: Thrillers, crime, humour, fantasy, science fiction, cookery, biography and contemporary literature all featured in the lists of Australia’s most borrowed library books for the first quarter of 2015, announced today by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), at the start of Library and Information Week (25-31 May).

Library and Information Week is an annual event and this year’s theme is ‘Imagine’. The seven days of celebrations will include nearly half a million children at some 3000 locations across Australia enjoying Aaron Blabey’s The Brothers Quibble on Wednesday 27 May at 11am during National Simultaneous Storytime.

Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive Officer of ALIA, said: ‘Last year for Library and Information Week, ALIA revealed Australia’s favourite library - Sandringham in Victoria. This year the association turned its attention to library users’ favourite reads.’

‘A survey of public libraries from February to April 2015 generated responses from more than 150 library services across the nation (10% of the 1500 public library service points) and found that the number one most borrowed book was Lee Child’s Never Go Back, the latest in the fast-paced Jack Reacher franchise.’

‘Libraries were asked to provide their top five most borrowed books in four categories: adult fiction, adult non-fiction, children’s and young adult.’

‘The top title in adult non-fiction was Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver; the top children’s title was the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and the Hunger Games series was first for young adult writing.‘

‘Australian authors held their own despite strong international contenders in the first three categories, while American writers dominated young adult fiction. 

‘The findings covered both print and ebooks, although ebooks still represented less than 5% of loans,’ said Ms McKerracher.

Library users have the choice of 1,515 public library service points across Australia, including 1,439 fixed point and 76 mobile libraries. Almost 174 million items were lent to 10 million members of Australia’s public libraries and more than 40 million items were made available for the use of the community.

The most borrowed adult fiction titles were:

1.       Never Go Back by Lee Child (British/thriller)

2.       The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Australian/humour)

3.       The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly (American/crime)

4.       Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Australian/contemporary literature)

5.       Eyrie by Tim Winton (Australian/contemporary literature)

6.       The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Australian/contemporary literature)

7.       Inferno by Dan Brown (American/thriller)

8.       The Rook by Daniel O’Malley (Australian/science fiction)

9.       Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (American/thriller)

10.   A Wanted Man by Lee Child (British/thriller)

Ms McKerracher said: ‘British thriller writer Lee Child topped and tailed the ten most borrowed adult fiction titles in Australian public libraries, however, half the titles in the list were by Australian writers.

‘These readers loved crime novels and thrillers which made up 50% of the top ten, but they also had a taste for contemporary literature, humour and science fiction.’

The most borrowed adult non-fiction titles were:

1.       Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (British/cookery)

2.        Guinness World Records 2014

3.       I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (Pakistani/biography)

4.       I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson (Australian/health)

5.       The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do (Australian/biography)

6.       Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliver (British/cookery)

7.       Father Bob the Larrikin Priest by Sue Williams (Australian/biography)

8.       Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (British/biography)

9.       Three Crooked Kings by Matthew Condon (Australian/true crime)

10.   Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver (British/cookery)

Ms McKerracher said: ‘Australian library users have adopted laddish London celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, with three of his titles making the top 10 most borrowed adult non-fiction titles. Food and biography dominated the top ten.’

The most borrowed children’s books were:

1.       Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney (American/humour)

2.       13-Storey, 26 Storey and 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Australian/humour)

3.       Geronimo and Thea Stilton series by Elisabetta Dami (Italian/adventure)

4.       Spot series by Eric Hill (British/picture book)

5.       The Wrong Book by Nick Bland (Australian/picture book)

6.       Just! series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Australian/humour)

7.       Once by Morris Gleitzman (Australian/Holocaust)

8.       Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins (Australian/picture book)

9.       Selby series by Duncan Ball (Australian/adventure)

10.   The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (Irish/Holocaust)

Ms McKerracher said: ‘Australian writers and illustrators were the focus of the children’s most borrowed books list, with the Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton partnership taking two of the top spots. Titles included a mix of humour, adventurous short stories, picture books and more challenging explorations of the Holocaust.’

The most borrowed young adult fiction titles were:

1.       Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (American/science fiction adventure)

2.       Divergent series by Veronica Roth (American/science fiction adventure)

3.       The Fault in our Stars by John Green (American/romance)

4.       The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Australian/Holocaust)

5.       Looking for Alaska by John Green (American/romance)

6.       Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (American/fantasy adventure)

7.       The Maze Runner by James Dashner (American/science fiction)

8.       Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Australian/thriller)

9.       An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (American/romance)

10.   Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (American/fantasy adventure)

Ms McKerracher said: ‘Teen borrowers from Australian libraries were looking for a blend of escapism and realism. Gritty romances, fantasy and adventure were the main themes, with all but two of the list coming from American writers.’

About the Australian Library and Information Association

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) is the professional organisation for the Australian library and information services sector. With 5,000 members across Australia, we provide the national voice of the profession in the development, promotion and delivery of quality library and information services, through leadership, advocacy and mutual support.

Contact:  Heather Wellard, Communications Manager: | 02 6215 8225 | 0409 830 439



Monday 25 May 2015 8:00am