Nassau Library System’s Most Borrowed Books 2023

Public libraries remain an essential resource
The Nassau Public Library system recently compiled their list of the most borrowed adult fiction and nonfiction books for 2023. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus was the most popular book at Nassau’s public libraries in 2023, with over 14,350 checkouts. The 54 public libraries in Nassau make today’s hottest titles available in print as well as eBooks and digital audiobooks.
“We gathered the list in early December, and it is the most checked out books from the print titles, ebook titles and the digital audio book titles. So those are the digital downloads that you can get through the Nassau digital doorway or the Libby app,” said Lisa Zuena, Communications and Marketing Specialist at the Nassau Library System.
Fiction dominated the list this year, with nine out of ten titles in that category. Of all the entries, only one non-fiction title made the list: Spare, the much-anticipated bombshell memoir by Prince Harry. “Spare was definitely the far and away winner. It got more than double the checkouts of the number two nonfiction book, which is I’m Glad My Mom Died. That was a pretty popular one. The Michelle Obama book is on this list too. But the numbers were just so much lower than the fiction checkout.” Zuena said.
The list of the most checked out books proves that newness isn’t the only factor in a book’s popularity. Of the top ten titles, only 4 were released in 2023. Two of fan favorite Colleen Hoover’s books made the list this year, with her backlist title It Ends with Us having been released in 2016. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo made the number 9 spot yet again, with over 1,100 more checkouts this year than last year. “I’m just still so surprised. I actually was a librarian in one of the libraries a couple of years ago, and some of these books, particularly The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo, I was checking out to people and getting for book clubs. It’s just fascinating to me that years later, it’s still number nine out of 10 top checked out books, so it’s like a blast from the past.” Zuena said.
Older titles can thank TikTok, television and movie adaptations and book clubs, among other factors, for having the chance to shine after their debuts. “The popularity of Tik Tok bringing up those older books that gain popularity seemingly overnight. It is fascinating. And also the number one book, Lessons In Chemistry, wound up being a TV series, so that helps.” Zuena said.
While these statistics are fascinating, the NLS doesn’t use them to make decisions on what books libraries will acquire for the coming year; instead, the individual libraries make those decisions. “It’s a little complicated here at the system level. We run these numbers to see what’s going on, and we can run them as the libraries need, but we don’t purchase books here at the system level. Each individual library in the county orders their own books. So they definitely run their own stats to see what’s going on and they do it when they make the collections as well. So they’re using it on an individual level,” said Zuena.
Zuena emphasized that these statistics show how important the NLS is to its constituents. “I think it highlights how much people in Nassau County love their library. You know, people say, ‘Oh, no one goes to the library anymore,’ but I can show you with raw numbers that they do, whether they’re going there and checking out the print books, or they’re taking advantage of the Nassau digital doorway in the Libby app. People here really do love their libraries.” Over 100,000 Nassau residents use their public library every month.
The Nassau Library System is a consortium comprised of 54 member libraries and a Service Center for the libraries. Each member library is independent, autonomous, supported by local taxes, and governed by its own board of trustees. All public libraries in Nassau County are members of NLS. The NLS was created to foster quality public library service in Nassau County, to enhance the public library resources and services available, to affect economies in operations, to provide training and continuing education opportunities and to stimulate development of public library service in unserved areas.
2023’s top 10 most circulated titles in Nassau, across print, Ebook, and digital audiobook are:
1. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
2. Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
3. It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover
4. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
5. Spare by Prince Harry
6. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
7. Happy Place by Emily Henry
8. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
9. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
10. Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes

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