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Arts / Cleeves usurped at top of most borrowed books list

The current library. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

ANN Cleeves has been knocked off the top of Shetland Library’s ‘most borrowed’ list – while eBooks and audio books have increased in popularity over the last year during the pandemic.

The most borrowed physical adult fiction book at the library in 2020 was Jojo Moyes’ The Giver of Stars, which focuses on pack horse librarians in the US.

Cleeves is second on that list with The Long Call, while other well-read authors included Elly Griffiths, Val McDermid and Peter May.
In the physical non-fiction section, David Gange’s The Frayed Atlantic Edge was the most popular.

The book, which tells the story of Gange’s canoe journey from Shetland to Cornwall, was launched at the Lerwick library in 2019.
Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Winn Raynor’s The Salt Path were also popular.

A book about how Lerwick post office staff were locked up in the First World War after being accused of spying was the most popular physical local book.

The popularity of Spy Fever: The Post Office Affair by Margaret Flaws could perhaps be down to the relocation of the Lerwick post office last year, with the library promoting the book on social media.

While physical books remain popular, eBooks and audio books performed well – particularly during lockdown and the pandemic.
Local writer Marsali Taylor dominates the Shetland rankings once ebooks are taken into account.

When combining online loans with physical check-outs, the first Harry Potter book was the most popular title overall with 182 issues, although this was mostly audio versions.

The library was closed for around two months due to the initial lockdown, with physical lending gradually reintroduced.
Library services manager Karen Fraser said: “Whether online or offline, it is clear that reading is playing a big part in people’s lives during the pandemic.”

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