Library users lawyer up in bumper year for borrowings

Irish readers had legal matters on their minds last year with John Grisham’s The Litigators the most borrowed book from public libraries in 2012.

Preliminary figures show the courtroom thriller topped the list of the most borrowed adult fiction by library members last year.

The most borrowed book of adult non-fiction was The Official Driver Theory Test, according to the statistics.

Meanwhile, younger readers were more interested in the trials and tribulations of growing up with Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney the most borrowed children’s book.

The Library Development Unit of the Local Government Management Agency is currently compiling a full list of the most borrowed books at public libraries last year and expects to publish the completed figures next month.

Its preliminary list however, shows the most borrowed author at Irish libraries in 2012 was US crime writer James Patterson who is best known for his books featuring criminal psychologist Alex Cross.

The most borrowed children’s author was Roderick Hunt with his popular titles in the Oxford Reading Tree series featuring characters including Biff and Kipper.

Grisham’s The Litigators, tells the story of a small Chicago legal firm’s go at the big-time with a class action suit against a big pharmaceutical company.

A whopping 16.5m books were borrowed from Irish libraries in 2011.

The figures show people in Cork City borrow the most library books in the country with 6.2 borrowed per head of population compared with four books borrowed per head in Fingal.

Library members in Waterford City borrowed 5.3 books; Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown 5.2; Cork county 4.6; Limerick city 4.4; Clare 4.3; Mayo 4.2; Wexford 4.1; and Westmeath 4.

However, public libraries are receiving increasingly less money to buy books.

Just over €10m was spent in stock acquisition nationally in 2010, falling to €8.7 in 2011 and an estimated €7.6m last year.

The spend on stock per head of population has dropped from just over €4 in 2008 to about €1.80 last year.

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