doubled to approximately 700. The number of checkouts remained fairly stable for the next couple years. Then Covid struck, and in 2019, we approached 1,000 checkouts for the year. Strong usage continued in 2020 and 2021 with 1,301 and 1,264 checkouts, respectively.
So, what have we been reading? Stories, stories, stories. Forty percent of the books borrowed were fiction, and an additional 26% were mysteries and thrillers. But not all readers were into escapism. Fifteen percent of the checkouts were biography/ memoir and history. The remaining 20% are categorized as “Other,” with poetry and travel having strong showings.
And who did we read? A very quick review of the checkout sheets shows that our favorite author was Louise Penny, writing solo about Chief Inspector Gamache and the Sûreté du Québec and her book with Hillary Rodham Clinton about a female Secretary of State and terrorism. We liked our Minnesota authors William Kent Krueger and Louise Erdrich were among the top favorites, and Como Park poet Michael Kleber-Diggs and his prize-winning book of poetry Worldly Things proved popular when we acquired it in October.
We read new authors, especially those on “best of” lists, and we read old favorites—Dickens and Hemingway and Christie. We read Obama and Wilkerson. We enjoyed LeCarré’s final work, Silverview. I suspect many of us have been reading him since his Smiley spy novels (also in our collection). His twenty-sixth novel, Silverview, completed by his son and published posthumously, has been checked out continuously since it was added to the Coffman collection.
We acquired many books in 2021 through monthly purchases and donations. And, of course, we hosted BookFest 2021 where more than fifty new books were showcased. If you follow recent “best of” lists, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see many of the books on the Coffman shelves. And, if you prefer classics, you’ll now find Jane Austen’s six major novels. If you are into young adult, we now have a complete set of Harry Potter.
Whatever your interest, check our shelves. Recent and Relevant is always popular, but wander to the other sections. Check out the upper floor. Check out the pink New Books List on the table. Surprises may await you. As we settle in for yet another month of winter and another month of COVID, check out our Library. Escape with a book to a warm climate, to a different century, to a different world. Contemplate our history, our body politic. Read about famous people. Enjoy our jewel in the crown
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