Your Library reader’s choice 2023

Your Library's Reader's Choice program is designed to find out what its members enjoy reading from the long list of books published in the previous year. Picture: ON FILE

By Christine Yunn-Yu Sun

Established in 1996, Your Library (formerly Eastern Regional Libraries) is a co-operative of three outer eastern metropolitan councils; Knox, Maroondah and Yarra Ranges.

According to Your Library’s website, the co-op’s 13 branch libraries and three community reading rooms serve a population of 435,000 residents across the three municipalities.

Data from Your Library Annual Report shows that, in the year 2022-23, a total of 1,263,008 library visits and nearly 3,178,788 checkouts were made, including loans and renewals.

The digital domain remained strong, accounting for 28.6% of Your Library’s total checkouts.

Also in 2022-23, Your Library had 293,529 members, including 23,329 new members, an increase of 52 per cent from the previous year.

The co-op’s branch libraries and reading rooms offered 134,589 PC sessions, with the number of WiFi users reaching 306,061, a whopping 249 per cent from the previous year!

Each year, Your Library collects information about the books that are most borrowed.

Its Reader’s Choice program is designed to find out what its members enjoy reading from the long list of books published in the previous year.

On February 14, Library Lover’s Day, the most popular book in 2023, as voted by Your Library’s members, was revealed to be Lessons in Chemistry by American author Bonnie Garmus.

Interestingly, the book won the second place in the previous year.

(For your reference, the book was defeated in 2022 by Australian/Tasmanian author Hannah Gadsby’s Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation, described by British actress Emma Thompson as a “hilarious, touching, and sometimes tragic book”. The memoir was borrowed a massive 561 times by Your Library members in that year.)

When asked why they loved Lessons in Chemistry, one voter praised: “A true depiction of life for a single mother & working woman in the 1950’s. Well written and touched on relatable themes such as inequity, loneliness, and courage. Relevant for so many individuals.” Another voter described the book as “quirky, humorous and such a good read”.

If you, too, are a fan of this “page-turning, funny, poignant” book, here comes the great news.

On Tuesday 21 May, Garmus will be discussing her captivating debut novel at Melbourne Town Hall.

As introduced by The Wheeler Centre: “At her only Melbourne event on her first Australian tour, Garmus [will sit down] with host Astrid Edwards to discuss her breakthrough novel, which has since been adapted into a major TV series starring Brie Larson.”

“Together, they’ll explore her funny and feisty heroine, the surprising fan phenomenon of Six-Thirty the dog, and how the novel’s historical setting sheds light on the truths of today.”

Meanwhile, another popular title in Your Library’s 2023 Readers’ Choice collection is Fourth Wing, the first title in the Empyrean fantasy series by American author Rebecca Yarros.

During her first visit to Australia, Yarros will be speaking about Fourth Wing and its sequel Iron Flame at Melbourne Town Hall on Tuesday 25 June.

Those readers interested in attending these two events can find more information on The Wheeler Centre’s website.