List of most borrowed library books revealed

Solar Bones by Irish author Mike McCormack library users’ most popular adult book

Published over two decades ago, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone topped the list of the most borrowed library books in Ireland last year.

The second most popular book borrowed from public libraries was Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School, by author Jeff Kinney.

All of the top 20 most borrowed books in 2018 were children's books, with several by JK Rowling, Roald Dahl, David Walliams, and Jeff Kinney making the list.

The 2016 novel, Solar Bones, by Irish writer Mike McCormack was the most commonly borrowed adult book. Television chat show host Graham Norton’s book Holding was the next most popular library book taken out by adults last year, followed by Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent.


Other popular books checked out by adults included Guinness World Records 2018, and the Road Safety Authority driver theory test guide. Novels frequently borrowed included The Break by Marian Keyes, Woman in the Window by A J Finn, and Skin Deep by Liz Nugent.

American author James Patterson topped the list for the most read author among adults. He was also the only adults' book author to make the list of the 20 overall most popular authors. Among some of the other most popular authors borrowed by adults were Nora Roberts, Lee Child, Anthony Horowitz, John Grisham, John Boyne, and Roddy Doyle.

In total three books from the Harry Potter series were among the five most commonly borrowed books, with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban taking spots four and five.

British author Roald Dahl’s 1982 classic, The BFG, was the third most borrowed book last year.

The statistics from public libraries across the country were compiled by the Local Government Management Agency.

Tom Enright, chair of the National Libraries development committee, said the amount of children's literature among the list of most borrowed books was positive. "I am very encouraged to see so many children's books and authors on the list," he said.

“The Irish public library collection has over 12 million items available . . . completely free, and we are inviting everybody, young and old, to explore what’s on offer,” he said.

Top 20 books borrowed in Irish public libraries 2018

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone , J.K. Rowling
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School, Jeff Kinney
  3. The BFG, Roald Dahl
  4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
  5. Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
  6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down, Jeff Kinney
  7. Awful Auntie, David Walliams
  8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck, Jeff Kinney
  9. Wonder, R.J. Palacio
  10. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
  11. Ratburger, David Walliams
  12. Matilda, Roald Dahl
  13. The World's Worst Children, David Walliams
  14. Gangsta Granny, David Walliams
  15. Fantastic Mr Fox, Roald Dahl
  16. Demon Dentist, David Walliams
  17. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, Jeff Kinney
  18. Grandpa's Great Escape, David Walliams
  19. Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Cabin Fever, Jeff Kinney
  20. Under the Hawthorn Tree, Marita Conlon-McKenna

Top 20 adult books borrowed in Irish public libraries 2018

  1. Solar Bones, Mike McCormack
  2. Holding, Graham Norton
  3. Lying in Wait, Liz Nugent
  4. Guinness World Records 2018, Guinness World Records 2018
  5. The Break, Marian Keyes
  6. The Midnight Line: (Jack Reacher 22), Lee Child
  7. Woman in the Window, A J Finn
  8. The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers, Edited by Sinead Gleeson
  9. Skin Deep, Liz Nugent
  10. The Plan, Aoife Hearne
  11. Night School: (Jack Reacher 21), Lee Child
  12. The Couple Next Door, Shari Lapena
  13. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  14. Karl Henry's Healthy Living Handbook, Karl Henry
  15. Driver Theory Test, Road Safety Authority
  16. The Wrong Side of Goodbye, Michael Connelly
  17. Days Without End, Sebastian Barry
  18. Mindful Walking: Walk Your Way to Mental and Physical Well-Being, Hugh O'Donovan
  19. The Whistler, John Grisham
  20. Smile, Roddy Doyle
Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times