The independent London newspaper

How library figures tell a story about Islington bookworms

Borrowing records reveal what residents in different parts of the borough like to read about

12 April, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Adenike Johnson, library manager at the West Library in Barnsbury

RESIDENTS in Finsbury are fond of harnessing the mysterious power of luck, while those in Holloway enjoy learning about the healing power of long-distance walking.

Well, according to the most borrowed library books for those areas.

A freedom of information request submitted by the Tribune, to find out the borough’s most borrowed library books and CDs for the past few years, proves once and for all residents are a literary bunch with a penchant for indie music.

The most borrowed adult book last year was Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, which was taken out a total of 228 times from Islington’s 10 libraries.

The fictional book centres on an outsider whose monotonous and solitary existence leaves readers hoping she lived a happier life.

Adenike Johnson, library manager at the West Library in Barnsbury, said she had just finished reading Ms Honeyman’s book which was a bestseller in America and the UK.

Ms Johnson, who has worked in Islington’s libraries for 15 years, said: “I enjoyed Oliphant. It covers a lot of issues such as isolation and mental health. It’s a cathartic read, I recommend it.”

Meanwhile, Finsbury Library saw Gary Smith’s What the Luck?: The Surprising Role of Chance in Our Everyday Lives borrowed 132 times last year, while the North Library in Holloway’s most popular adult biography was The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, which was borrowed 27 times.

Mr Smith’s book, which was published two years ago, encourages readers not to get too bogged down when things don’t go their way.

Elena Ferrante, the creator of the Neapolitan novels on friendship, loss and torment was especially popular two years ago, with three of her books in the top most borrowed list for the entire borough.

Those who enjoy alternative indie music would be holding their head in shame due to the borough’s top CD choices for 2018.

The most borrowed CD was The Greatest Showman, which features music from the hit Hollywood musical featuring Hugh Jackman. But 2016 was a great year for indie fans with albums by PJ Harvey, Iggy Pop and David Bowie gracing the top 10 most borrowed list.


Share this story

Post a comment