South Africa: The Most Borrowed Books From Five Cape Town Libraries

Public libraries are hosting a range of events and activities to keep children entertained this holiday

What do Lee Child, Jeff Kinney and Michelle Obama have in common? They’re all authors of the most borrowed books at various Cape Town public libraries this past year.

As the year winds down, libraries across the city will still remain a hive of activity to keep children of all ages entertained during the holidays – including movie days, indoor and outdoor games, puppet shows, storytelling and crafting, among other activities.

Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services Patricia van der Ross said, “Our staff go the extra mile during the holiday to keep our young patrons entertained. I want to encourage parents to send their children to join in the fun activities. The young ones will develop their social skills in a fun way, while parents will have peace of mind that their children are kept busy within a safe space and in a constructive manner.”

Here’s the City’s list of activities.

GroundUp visited five out of the over 100 public libraries to find out what some of the most popular books have been at each this year.

Cape Town Central Library

Situated in the city centre, the Cape Town Central Library opened its doors to the public in 1955. It has about 5,000 weekly visitors and over 200,000 items including books, magazines and DVD’s.

Top five borrowed books:

  • The Sentinel by Lee Child
  • Wrecking Ball by Jeff Kinney
  • Blue Moon by Lee Child
  • Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories by Jeff Kinney
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Du Noon Library

Launched in April 2019, Du Noon’s library has about 30,000 books and many amenities. The three-storey library has about 937 weekly visitors. It was co-funded by the Western Cape government and City of Cape Town and took five years to complete.

Top borrowed books:

  • Rapunzel by Sarah Gigg
  • Umlilo ka Nomathemba by Ray Leitch
  • AmaPhupha oMndanisi weBhaleyi by Michaela Deprince
  • Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
  • How It Ends by Catherine Lo
  • The Boy Book by Ruby Oliver

Table View Library

Table View library first opened its doors in 1991. It sees about 1,200 weekly visitors and has over 40,000 books.

Top five borrowed books and authors:

  • Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley
  • Books by James Patterson
  • Books by Lee Child
  • Books by Danielle Steel
  • Hlomo series by Dudu-Busani Dube

Muizenberg Library

Muizenberg library celebrated 70 years since its opened in 1952. Formerly a fire station, the library hosts about 712 weekly visitors and has 20,000 books.

Top five borrowed books:

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  • Better Off Dead by Lee Child
  • The Wish by Nicholas Sparks
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama

Observatory Library

Observatory library first opened in 1898. It became a public library at its current premises in 1954. It has about 473 weekly visitors and 26,000 books.

Top four borrowed books:

  • Double Down by Jeff Kinney
  • Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
  • Elena and the Secret of Avalor by Grace Lee

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