ITHACA, N.Y. — With a bitterly cold weekend ahead, it’s a good time to settle in with a new book to read or movie to watch. If you decide to borrow something from Tompkins County Public Library, you’ll be in good company.

The library saw an increase in traffic in 2018 compared to the year before. More than 400,000 people visited the library through November and checked out over 700,000 items.

Here is a list of the most checked-out books, DVDs, periodicals and other items in 2018.


The community book read always dominates the top spot for adult book check-outs. Last year, the community read was “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” which was checked out 767 times. This year, the community read choice was “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson. The novel “about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family takes readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, macabre humor, and gothic atmosphere.”

Fiction — “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” (Checked out 682 times) followed by “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr

Fiction (New) — “Glass Houses” by Louise Penny (Checked out 120 times)

Periodical — The New Yorker (Checked out 270 times); New York Times Magazine; The Economist

DVD — “Hidden Figures” (Checked out 132 times); “Spider-Man: Homecoming”; “Wonder Woman”

DVD (Blue-ray) — “Murder on the Orient Express” (Checked out 122 times); “Black Panther”; “Star Wars” Trilogy

Children & Young Adult

Several popular titles in children’s media returned again in 2018. Multiple books in the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series made the list again, as did the “Harry Potter” books and “Garfield.”

Children’s Fiction — “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down” by Jeff Kinney (Checked out 135 times); “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J. K. Rowling; “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School” by Jeff Kinney

Young Adult Fiction — “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard 3: The Ship of the Dead” by Rick Riordan (Checked out 124 times); “Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green; “The Dark Prophecy” by Rick Riordan

Graphic Novel Fiction — “Garfield Takes His Licks” by Jim Davis (Checked out 145 times); “Big Nate. Genius Mode” by Lincoln Peirce; “Big Nate: Silent But Deadly” by Lincoln Peirce

Children’s Picture Book Fiction — “The Word Collector” by Peter H. Reynolds

DVD — “Wonder” (Checked out 154 times); “Inside Out”; “My Neighbor Totoro”; “Frozen”; “Ponyo”


In addition to books, audio and other media, the Tompkins County Public Library also has a “Library of Things.” People with a library card can check out museum passes, reading glasses, tote bags, umbrellas, and tools. The most popular item checked out in 2018 was the tote bag followed by umbrellas.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.