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New York Public Library reveals top checkouts of all time (and more) for 125th anniversary

Written by
Oliver Strand

The New York Public Library is turning 125 this year, and it's never looked better. To mark the event, the library calculated the top 10 most-borrowed books in its history. What came in at number one? The Snowy Day, the 1962 classic by Ezra Jack Keats.

To celebrate, the NYPL is issuing a delightful limited-edition The Snowy Day library card starting today at any of the library's 92 locations. (You can sign up online, but you'll have to go to a branch to get the card.) As always, a library card is free for anybody who lives, works or attends school in New York State. If you want to trade in your current library card, the NYPL asks that you make a $1 donation. 

Photograph: Courtesy Jonathan Blanc/NYPL

The MTA is getting in on the action, and selling special MetroCards later this week. It will be available at subway stations at Grand Central, Bryant Park, Penn Station, Columbus Circle, Third Ave and 149th St, St. George, Broadway-Lafayette, 125th St, Jay St Metro Tech and Sutphin Blvd Archer Ave.

It's a fitting book to take the top spot. The Snowy Day is a true New York story in which a winter storm transforms the city's busy streets into a snow-covered playground for childhood fun.

The Snowy Day has been checked out over 485,000 times, edging out The Cat in the Hat. In fact, five of the titles are picture books for children—which should come as no surprise to parents. Kids are tireless readers, which is why we love spending time at the best kids' library branches in NYC and make time for the best book clubs for kids.

Here's the full list:

  1. The Snowy Day
  2. The Cat in the Hat
  3. 1984
  4. Where the Wild Things Are
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird
  6. Charlotte’s Web
  7. Fahrenheit 451
  8. How To Win Friends and Influence People
  9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  10. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

An honorable mention goes to the 1947 book Goodnight Moon, which would have made the list if not for the personal vendetta by the influential educator Anne Carroll Moore, who had it barred from the NYPL until 1972—11 years after her death. What did the old woman whispering "hush" ever do to her?

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