Potter, Nicholas Sparks books top the list of what local readers check out at library

Circulation Clerk Matt Etzel holds J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the most checked-out adult and young adult fiction book of 2011 at the main branch of the Huntington City-Township Public Library.
Circulation Clerk Matt Etzel holds J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the most checked-out adult and young adult fiction book of 2011 at the main branch of the Huntington City-Township Public Library. Photo by Sarah Johnson.

Originally published Jan. 9, 2012.

What does it take to make a good book?

Boy wizards, fat cats and wimpy kids.

At least, that's what Huntington County readers seem to think.

According to the 2011 list of top 10 check-outs at the Huntington City-Township Public Library and Markle Branch Library, Garfield the Cat and county history remain popular topics among Huntington County readers.

Books featuring fictional character Harry Potter and those written by novelist Nicholas Sparks also dominated the reading lists last year.

J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" claimed the highest number of check-outs in both adult and young adult fiction on Huntington's list. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw," by Jeff Kinney, topped the same categories in Markle.

Adult lists for 2011 included several other less-than-adult titles, such as "Garfield Fat-Cat (3-pack)" and other titles in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series.

Library Director Kathy Holst says patrons are frequently reading outside of their prescribed age level.

"There is a lot of cross-reading going on there," Holst says. "Because of that trend, we have physically moved the young adult non-fiction to be interfiled with the adult non-fiction."

The Markle Library's young adult fiction and non-fiction have been incorporated in the adult section as well.

"Historic Pictures of Huntington County" was the only remaining Number 1 book from 2010, beating out other adult non-fiction titles in Huntington. The book was recently brought back into print.

Nicholas Sparks was a favorite in Huntington, boasting four titles on the adult fiction list, including "The Wedding," the favorite of 2010. Sparks had one Top 10 book in Markle.

Kay Stine, children's librarian in Huntington, says that the 2011 lists reflect a common trend among juvenile patrons: book series.

She says younger readers are likely to stick with a book series if they feel comfortable with the first book and know they will enjoy the rest. Popular series authors include J.K. Rowling, Barbara Park, Dav Pilkey and John Rozum.

"It seems like year after year, it's ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends,'" Stine says.

The popular poetry volume by Shel Silverstein, which is shelved in each age group, earned 10th place in Markle's non-fiction.

Holst points out that the rankings can be misleading since they show popularity by volume, not title. For example, "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett is one of the library's most checked-out titles, but because there are several copies in use, it failed to appear in the top 10, she said.

The rankings will be used to provide library staff with an idea of popular categories and series when they purchase new books, although Holst says that the staff relies primarily on reviews and other outside sources to help create a broad selection.

"But it does give us a clue," Holst says. "If ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid' is popular, we'll probably get an extra copy."
The following are the top five most frequently checked-out adult fiction and non-fiction titles of 2011 at the Huntington and Markle libraries.
adult fiction:
1. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" by J.K. Rowling.
2. "When the Wind Blows" by James Patterson.
3. "A Walk to Remember" by Nicholas Sparks.
4. "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks.
5. "The Guardian" by Nicholas Sparks.
Markle, adult fiction:
1. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw" by Jeff Kinney.
2. "Garfield Fat-Cat (3-Pack)" by Jim Davis.
3. "Vision in White" by Nora Roberts.
4. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth" by
Cont. on Pg. 3
Jeff Kinney.
5. "Wizardology: The Book of the Secrets of Merlin" by Master Merlin and Dugald Steer.
1. "Historic Pictures of Huntington County."
2. "90 Minutes in Heaven: True Story of Death and Life" by Don Piper.
3. "ASPCA: The Complete Guide to Dogs."
4. "Marvel Encyclopedia: X-Men" by Syd Barney-Hawke.
5. "The Ultimate LEGO Book."
Markle, non-fiction:
1. "Guinness World Records 2011."
2. "Haunted Ohio IV Restless Spirits" by Chris Woodyard.
3. "The Far Side Gallery 4" by Gary Larson.
4. "The Far Side Gallery 2" by Gary Larson.
5. "Haunted Indianapolis and Other Indiana Ghost Stories" by Tom Baker.