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'Where the Crawdads Sing' the most popular book in libraries for 2021

A reader at the National Library's temporary building.
A reader at the National Library's temporary building. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Delia Owens' novel "Where the Crawdads Sing" tops the library borrowing rankings for the second consecutive year with nearly 9,000 readers taking the book home for a read.

"Where the Crawdads Sing" was the most popular fiction book in public libraries by far, being borrowed a total 8,773 times, 3,560 times more than Nicola May's second-place book "The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay". Third place went to journalist Justin Petrone's "Minu Viljandi", which was borrowed a total 4,998 times in 2021.

The public library data shows that "Where the Crawdads Sing" was borrowed nearly 3,000 times more than in 2020, when it was also the most popular library book.

"Looking at the general picture, fiction readers prefer Estonian literature, because 14 of the top-20 books are from Estonian authors," Haapsalu Library bibliographer Krista Kumberg said.

For example, Vahu Afanasjev's "Serafima ja Bogdan" was released in 2017, but it still resides in the top-20. "People are also interested in irritating biographies and interpersonal works," the bibliographer noted.

Kumberg pointed out that the public library fiction top-20 reflects the reading habits of women and children. "Men read popular science books and historical fiction, which is why men's preferences do not affect the public library rankings as much as women's preferences," the bibliographer added.

There are more than 800 public, school, research and professional libraries in Estonia, 521 of which are public libraries, 315 are school libraries and 39 are professional and research libraries. Every other Estonian resident is a library reader and there are more than 13 million books borrowed each year.

2022 has been announced as the "Year of Libraries". Project director Liina Valdre told ERR this week that in the first months, the aim is to display libraries as literature and cultural centers, after which they will be seen as community centers. "[Then], we will put libraries on bicycles in the summer and take them all over. In autumn, we will think about libraries of the future and their expanded roles. There are different conferences planned, different national activities," Valdre said.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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