Out of millions of books and dozens of genres, there is one story that sticks out for Brooklynites and beyond. The Brooklyn Public Library, one of the nation’s largest library systems, has announced the most borrowed books in its quasquicentennial history.
In the 125 years the library system has served New Yorkers and others who frequent its locations, the system has acquired more than 2.86 million physical items and 250,000 digital materials. To celebrate its birthday, the system has spent the past few weeks unveiling the 125 most borrowed books out of that collection.
And it turns out that Brooklyn’s most beloved books cover a wide range of genres and themes, from “The Cat in the Hat” and “Naruto: Volume 1” to “Wuthering Heights,” “The Old Man and the Sea,” and “Murder on the Orient Express.”
But only one title could top the list – Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”
The award-winning children’s classic tells the story of Max, an imaginative child who, dressed in a wolf suit, travels to the world of the Wild Things where he joins them in a rumpus and becomes their king. The library has 145 physical copies of the beloved story, as well as five audio versions.
Children’s books as a whole dominated their list, with many spots going to Dr. Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Geisel. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and “Amelia Bedelia,” are also among the children’s books listed.
“Here’s to 125 years of Brooklyn stories,” the library says on its website. “We’re looking forward to the next chapter.”
The Brooklyn Public Library has captured the hearts of many locals and passersby since it was established on November 30, 1896. The system got its start in a former public school building in Bedford and has since expanded to 61 branches across the New York City borough.
Author Lois Lowry, known for “The Giver” and “Number the Stars,” said in a video message that the library system has a special place in her heart.
“Brooklyn is where I learned to read,” she said. “…My sister was three years older. She came home from school every day and taught me how to read.”
Soon after she learned how to read, her family moved away. But Lowry moved back to Brooklyn in high school, where she “used what she had learned as a little girl.”
“Reading is the most important thing in the world to me still, and Brooklyn is where I first made friends with it and with the library,” she said.