New York Public Library Releases Their Top 10 Most Checked Out Books Of All Time

January 14, 2020

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To celebrate the institution's 125th anniversary this year, the New York Public Library recently compiled and released a list of its top ten most checked out books of all time. Without looking can you name something you'd expect to be on the list? Now look. Were you right? If you weren't you owe me a drink.

The most-wanted book? The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.


The Caldecott Medal-winning tale of a young boy's encounter with snow has been checked out 485,583 times from the NYPL since it was published in 1962.

It shares qualities with many of the other most-borrowed titles: The beautifully illustrated book has been around a long time, it's well-known and well-loved, and it's available in numerous languages.

1. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats: 485,583 checkouts
2. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss: 469,650 checkouts
3. 1984 by George Orwell: 441,770 checkouts
4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak: 436,016 checkouts
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: 422,912 checkouts
6. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White: 337,948 checkouts
7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: 316,404 checkouts
8. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: 284,524 checkouts
9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling: 231,022 checkouts
10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: 189,550 checkouts

The library also awarded an "honorable mention" to Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. That book might have been a contender for the all-time top spot, but NYPL children's librarian Anne Carroll Moore so disliked the 1947 book that the library didn't carry it until 1972. That late entry kept the book off the top 10 list -- for now.

Wow, I think I've actually read every single one of those. *waits for pat on the back* No? Nothing? "What did you think of How To Win Friends and Influence People?" False advertising, wouldn't have read it if I'd have known it wasn't a foolproof guide to hypnotism.

Thanks to my dad, for all the books.

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