From millions of books and dozens of genres, there’s one story that’s special to the people of Brooklyn and beyond. The Brooklyn Public Library, one of the nation’s largest library systems, has announced the most loaned books in its quasiquicentennial 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 unveiled 125 of the most borrowed books from that collection over the past few weeks.
And it turns out that Brooklyn’s best-loved books range 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 dressed in a wolf suit, who enters a world of wild things where he joins them on an adventure and becomes their king. The library has 145 physical copies of the beloved story, as well as five audio versions.
Children’s books completely dominated his list, with several 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.
The library says on its website, “Here are 125 years of stories from Brooklyn.” “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 originated in a former public school building in Bedford and has since expanded to 61 branches in the New York City boroughs.
Author Lois Lowry, best 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 used to come home from school every day and teach me to read.”
His family moved away as soon as he learned to read. But Lori moved back to Brooklyn for high school, where she “used what she learned as a little girl.”
“Reading is still the most important thing in the world to me, and Brooklyn is where I first befriended it and the library,” she said.