It could be to escape the summer heat, or it could be the newly released books, but more and more people are stopping in at the Elmira Library.
Sheryl Tilley is the supervisor for the Woolwich and Wellesley library branches, and she says this year’s numbers are unprecedented.
“It has been crazy this summer. More books have been checked out in the past few weeks than I can remember,” she said. “It is exciting.”
This summer’s hot reads in the adult section of the library are almost all new releases from well-loved authors.
Topping the list of the most checked out books is renowned novelist John Grisham with his new book, Rogue Lawyer. Lawrence Hill’s The Illegal, James Patterson’s Private Paris, Sandra Brown’s Friction and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins round out the top five.
Other popular reads, based on borrowing wait lists and books on hold include The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, The Last Mile by David Baldacci, First Comes Love by Emily Giffin and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
“People are checking out stacks of books at a time to take to the cottage, or to even sit at home. That is the comment we get the most. ‘I am going to the cottage and I need stuff to read,’” she said.
Downstairs, in the children’s section of the library, library assistant Pauline Frankena says this summer is all about the series, Star Wars and Pokémon.
“We have the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and we just can’t keep them on the shelves. The same goes with the Percy Jackson series. That is also very popular with the latest books in the series coming out,” she said. “And, of course, with the recent release of the new Star Wars movie, anything to do with Star Wars is just flying off the shelves.”
There are also a huge number of kids signed up for the summer reading program, sponsored by TD. Frankena says there are over 160 kids signed up already with more signing up every week.
“They get a reading passport, and when they finish a book, they get a stamp,” she said, adding that as kids collect stamps, they are eligible for different levels of prizes.
With temperatures routinely topping 30 degrees outside, it could be the air conditioning in the library, but Frankena attributes the higher than average foot traffic through the library to the creativity of the programs the library offers Tuesday to Friday.
“It is a great place to come in and people are just enjoying it,” she said. “You can meet your friends, find a new book to read, or come and drop in on Tuesdays. We have a large variety of programming for kids of all ages and interests. I think that is really attracting the kids.”