The books Canadians are borrowing in the first half of 2019

Earlier this week we explored what books Canadians have been buying to fill their bookshelves in the first half of 2019 — but what about library borrowers? Using the data we've collected so far as we ready the BNC LibraryData service for launch, let's check out (pun intended) which physical books at English-language libraries have been popular with library borrowers in the first half of 2019. 

These are the most popular books borrowed from libraries in Canada for the first half of 2019 as tracked by @BookNet_Canada.
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To start, let's take a peek at the subject breakdown of library loans from January to June 2019. Looking at loans from more than 500 public library branches across the country, we see that the Juvenile/Young Adult category is handily leading with 44.0% of all loans. Fiction and Non-Fiction are neck-and-neck to share the rest, at 26.5% and 26.4%, respectively. (The remaining 3.1% were loans of items without BISAC subjects assigned.)

Pie chart showing category breakdown of loans.

Most-loaned physical books in the first half of 2019

You can really see the domination of the Juvenile/YA subject category in this list of the most-loaned books for the year so far. Is your favourite series represented?

The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

  1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

  2. The Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renée Russell

  3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

  4. Educated by Tara Westover

(You might be wondering why some of these are entire series, while others are individual titles. Libraries report their circulation data to us based on how ISBNs are catalogued in their systems. Because some libraries catalogue multiple books in a series together, the circulation data we receive is catalogued together as well! Looking for more information on how this works? You can learn more about what we call ISBN Clusters here.) 

Most-renewed physical books in the first half of 2019

And what about the books readers needed a little extra time with this year? These are the books readers just couldn't bring back at the end of one loan period — unsurprisingly, many of them are the most-loaned as well!

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

  1. The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

  2. The Dork Diaries series, by Rachel Renée Russell

  3. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

  4. Drama and Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Most-loaned Canadian physical books in the first half of 2019

When we get into the most-loaned Canadian-authored titles, Fiction tops the list with four of the top five spots so far this year.

  1. Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny 🇨🇦

  2. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan 🇨🇦

  3. Women Talking by Miriam Toews 🇨🇦

  4. Careless Love by Peter Robinson 🇨🇦

  5. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson 🇨🇦

How will the rest of the year shake out for library books across Canada? You'll have to stay tuned to find out! If you're interested in more information on the intersection of book buying and book borrowing, check out our study Borrow, Buy, Read: Library Use and Book Buying in Canada. And if you're a library that's interested in our LibraryData project, find out how you can start sending us your circulation data!