What Were the Library's Most Checked-Out Books in 2010?

Kansas City is a big reading town. The Library’s circulation stats from last year prove it. Our most checked-out book: Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1980 novel Housekeeping, the book featured in our NEA-sponsored, community-wide Big Read program. Find out what other books and movies were most checked-out by KC’s reading class in 2010.

Library patrons like thrilling reads and newer non-fiction, but it was a 30-year-old novel that crossed our circulation desks the most in 2010.

Thanks to our Big Read program, in which more than 1,300 people signed up to read Housekeeping (and attend book discussions, special events, and a film screening), Marilynne Robinson’s rich, carefully rendered masterpiece shot to the top, with just over 700 check-outs for the year.

Elsewhere on the list, just below Dan Brown’s Da Vinci follow-up, Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel, The Help, grabbed the bronze with a compelling story of race relations in Civil Rights-era Mississippi. Elizabeth Gilbert’s globetrotting memoir landed in the top 10; the late Stieg Larsson went two for three from his Millennium Trilogy; and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse mysteries added vampire blood to the mix. And nearly last – but not nearly least – Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which turned 50 in 2010.

The Top 25 Most Checked-Out Adult Books of 2010

1. Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson

2. The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

3. The Help – Kathryn Stockett

4. True Blue – David Baldacci

5. Nine Dragons – Michael Connelly

6. The 8th Confession – James Patterson

7. The Scarpetta Factor – Patricia Cornwell

8. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

9. Grave Secret – Charlaine Harris

10. Mama Dearest – E. Lynn Harris

11. Rough Country – John Sandford

12. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

13. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man – Steve Harvey

14. Run for Your Life – James Patterson

15. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson

16. A Touch of Dead – Charlaine Harris

17. Big Girls Do Cry – Carl Weber

18. Hardball – Sara Paretsky

19. Be Careful What You Pray For – Kimberla Lawson Roby

20. Cross Country – James Patterson

21. The Associate – John Grisham

22. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer

23. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

24. Sizzling Sixteen – Janet Evanovich

25. Resilience – Elizabeth Edwards

When it came to kids reading, Percy Jackson and his brave Olympians ruled the list of Most Checked-Out Children’s Books, with book two in Riordan’s six-part series surfing to the top. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows makes an expected appearance, considering the first of two movies based on this final chapter in J.K. Rowling’s series hit the big screen last year (as did an adaptation of The Lightning Thief.) Oldie-but-goodie of the year: Maurice Sendak’s 1963 classic Where the Wild Things Are.

The 10 Most Checked-Out Children’s Books of 2010

1 The Sea of Monsters – Rick Riordan

2. Old MacDonald – Rosemary Wells

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days – Jeff Kinney

5. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

6. Pigeon Wants a Puppy – Mo Willems

7. Llama Llama Mad at Mama – Anna Dewdney

8. Dinosaur vs. Bedtime – Bob Shea

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

10. The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

It’s 10 o’clock – do you know where the teenager in your life is? Chances are, he or she is sunk deeply in the nocturnal world of Stephenie Meyer. As our Most Checked-Out Young Adult Books of 2010 list shows, it was the year Twilight latched on to the adolescent American imagination like a thirsty, well, vampire, fueled, no doubt, by the blockbusting release of the third Twilight film in June. Hunger Games empress Suzanne Collins was not to be outdone, though, claiming spots five and six. Look for her books to escalate in 2011 when Hollywood takes on her trilogy.

The 10 Most Checked-Out Young Adult Books of 2010

1. Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer

2. Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer

3. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer

4. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

5. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

6. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

7. New Moon – Stephenie Meyer

8. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment – James Patterson

9. Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia

10. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner – Stephenie Meyer

It was neck and neck at the finish, but Quentin Tarantino’s Nazi-stompin’ romp beat out James Cameron’s nine-foot-tall Na’vi tale to claim the top spot on our list of Most Checked-Out Adult Feature DVDs. Not far below came 2010 Academy Award for Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker, followed closely by Sandra Bullock’s Oscar-winning performance in a film based on a book by Michael Lewis. (Did we mention that our patrons also have good taste in film?)

Top 10 Most Checked-Out Adult Feature DVDs of 2010

1. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

2. Avatar (2009)

3. Angels & Demons (2009)

4. The Hangover (2009)

5. Star Trek (2009)

6. District 9 (2009)

7. The Hurt Locker (2008)

8. The Blind Side (2009)

9. It’s Complicated (2009)

10. Surrogates (2009)

Now it’s your turn: What did you check out from the Library last year?

And what will you check out in 2011? Take a look at the Suggested Readings from the Library’s Adult Winter Reading Program, which begins January 10, 2011.

-- Jason Harper