Vancouver Public Library reveals top 10 non-fiction books of 2015

The Vancouver Public Library's top 10 most checked-out non-fiction books of 2015 exposes Vancouver readers' hobbies, hopes and travel preferences.

Breaking down the top books by branch exposes where the city's stamp collectors are hiding

The Vancouver Public Library's most checked-out non-fiction books of 2015 reveal a broad array of interests. (VPL)

Earlier this week CBC published the Vancouver Public Library's top 10 most checked-out fiction books of 2015.

Now, we bring you the top 10 most checked-out non-fiction books of 2015, exposing Vancouver readers' hobbies, hopes and interests. 

Top 10 most checked-out non-fiction of 2015

  1. Ripley's Believe It or Not (revised annually)
  2. The Inconvenient Indian: a Curious Account of Native People in North America, Thomas King (2012)
  3. Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, Susan Cain (2012)
  4. Wild: from Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed (2012)
  5. Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue (revised annually)
  6. What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career-Changers, Richard Bolles (revised annually)
  7. Thinking: Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman (2011)
  8. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg (2012)
  9. Fodors Hawaii (revised annually)
  10. LPI Workbook: Eight Practice Tests for the Language Proficiency Index (2009)

Similarly to the top 10 fiction list, some of the titles are recognizable as big award-winners (The Inconvenient Indian) or film adaptations (Wild).

But who would have guessed that Vancouverites are such avid stamp collectors? Or that a job-seeking guide originally published in 1970 is still so popular today?

As for the top of the list, the library's acting director of collections, Chris Middlemass, says Ripley's Believe It or Not is a favourite among children. The list is meant to exclude books for youth, but the library doesn't specifically categorize Ripley's as a youth title. 

West Side stamp collectors, East Side families

Breaking down the top book by branch reveals even more surprises.

The distribution of the top non-fiction books by branch reveals some interesting Vancouver trends. (CBC)

Most of the stamp collectors seem to be on the West Side.

As for the popularity of Ripley's on the East Side, it's possible that's an area with a larger number of families and children (or more specifically, according to Middlemass, eight to 12-year-old boys).

Also, the lone branch with the LPI Workbook as its top title may indicate a concentration of English language learners in the Oakridge area gearing up for university placement tests.

If you really want to go deep into library habits, check out this interactive map of the top 10 books by branch

Travel: France or Hawaii

Vancouverites appear to also be interested in travel. Fodor's Hawaii made the top 10, but a few more telling titles made the top 20 list.

The top four travel guides checked out by Vancouverites in 2015 were:

  1. Fodor's Hawaii
  2. Fodor's Maui
  3. Fodor's Paris
  4. Fodor's France

However, that list gets even more interesting when broken down by neighbourhood.

Interest in travel to Paris or France appears to be stronger at branches in Vancouver's southwest. (Google Maps)

While Hawaii is a top sought-after destination across Vancouver, there appears to be northeast-southwest divide when it comes to those with France or Paris in the top 10.


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