Lending Love: Insight into borrowing trends at Australian libraries

Lending Love: Insight into borrowing trends at Australian libraries

Thanks to book sales data monitoring services like Neilsen BookScan, we are always in the know about the books Australians are buying and reading the most. And now, thanks to a unique partnership between Civica and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), we also have a special insight into what books Australians are borrowing from their local libraries.

The data reveals some really interesting reading trends in Australia. Take a look at the most-borrowed list.

Most Borrowed Top Ten:

Novels within the crime, thriller, and mystery genres reign supreme in libraries, dominating the list of most-borrowed fiction books in Australia.

  1. Night School by Lee Child
  2. The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
  3. The Whistler by John Grisham
  4. No Middle Name by Lee Child
  5. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape
  6. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  7. The Dry by Jane Harper 
  8. Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
  9. Make Me by Lee Child
  10. The Fix by David Baldacci

What does the data mean?

We’re seeing a lot of different titles here, but what does this list really tell us about our reading habits and trends? Interestingly, this library index indicates that the borrowing habits of Australian readers closely mirror book-selling trends in Australia. Crime and thriller fiction consistently make up a large portion of the weekly top ten fiction on the Nielsen BookScan list. Whilst titles may vary between these retail and library lists, popular genres (crime and thriller) remain consistent across both sectors.

There’s no doubt that these borrowing trends also reflect the important roles that libraries play in local communities. Simon Jones, Managing Director of Libraries and Educations at Civica, reinforces this sentiment: “Modern day visitors aren’t visiting libraries just for entertainment; they come to libraries to improve their lives, be it financially through The Barefoot Investor or the hundreds of other financial advice resources, or educationally to improve their literacy. Libraries are a place where the exchange and development of ideas occur.’

Why are libraries important?

Libraries are an amazing resource for many readers, and, most importantly, are accessible to all, providing equal access opportunities. They foster a sense of community; within the walls of a library, reading becomes communal – an act of sharing, of information exchange, of learning and evolving.

Support your local library:

If you haven’t done so already, we highly recommend you jump on the library bandwagon and join in on the fun! Support your local library by becoming a member, using its resources regularly, and spreading the word to your friends, family, neighbours – everyone! The more we support our local libraries, the more we acknowledge that reading is important and should be available to everyone.

Happy Reading!




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  1. Margaret Burnham says:

    I love John Grisham and I recently borrowed The Whistler from the local library. I find if I want to try a new author I borrow from the library before buying any of the authors books. Then I now if I will like them or not.