Wiley Cash, J.K. Rowling, Margot Lee Shetterly top lists of popular library checkouts

January 19, 2018 GMT

J.K. Rowling wasn’t a surprise.

Neither was “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” or “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

Books by John Grisham and David Baldacci still are flying off the shelf.

Lee Child and Diane Ackerman were practically shoo-ins.

But unexpected was Wiley Cash’s “A Land More Kind Than Home,” last year’s Spokane is Reading title, and J.A. Jance’s “Downfall: A Brady Novel of Suspense.”

Cash’s book was the only title that was in both the city’s and county’s top three books in either fiction or nonfiction for adults. The only other print book that landed in the top three in each system was in the children’s category: “Harry Potter and Cursed Child.”

Reviewing lists of top checkouts from both the Spokane Public Library and the Spokane County Library District reveals patterns and trends about what Spokane read or listened to last year.

“There’s a lot of what we would expect to see, the best-sellers certainly,” Andrea Sharps, collection services director for Spokane County Library District, said. “But then it also reflects on our community’s specific interest, whether it’s our regional history or an author coming to town and that being the catalyst that prompts somebody to check out the book in whatever format.”

Both Cash and Jance made appearances in Spokane last year, which Sharps thinks helped drive them to multiple appearances on the lists of top checkouts.

Cash’s “A Land More Kind Than Home” was also popular with Spokane Public Library readers, as was Ransom Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which was the most popular teen title of 2017. Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” remains popular, at least in the Spokane Public Library, where it was the fifth most popular young adult fiction book.

As of October of last year, the Spokane Public Library had 1.5 million materials checked out, 70,321 of which were digital items.

In 2017, the Spokane County Library District circulated 2,612,576 items, 492,106 of which were digital.

“I think the good thing is we have materials in so many different formats,” Sharps said. “We’ve got the regular print, we’ve got books on CD, we have e-books, we have e-audiobooks, so it should hopefully address all different learning styles and preferences.”