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Now hear this

I just finished reading "The Moth," a compilation of 50 stories told by various participants in the National Public Radio show of the same name.

The idea behind "The Moth," the NPR radio show, is that individuals with interesting true stories to tell will work with a director to develop a tight talk, then give that speech at regular live events that are recorded and replayed.

The stories in the book are very short because the talks were short. And they are almost all intriguing.

I wanted to read "The Moth" because I really enjoy listening to "The Moth" as I drive to San Marcos or Dripping Springs to go grocery shopping.

Humans have apparently always loved hearing stories. At least that's what I learned in school (and, in the case of The Bible, at church). Long before anything was written down, the stories were told.

James Atlas, writing an op-ed piece in Sunday's edition of The New York Times, illuminates the growing popularity of podcasts and makes reference to some gate-keepers who have websites where you can keep up with what's new in podcast tale-telling via podcasts.

I'm not up on podcasting, but plan to get there. A good story is a good story regardless of format.


Going, going 'Gone'

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn has earned yet another distinction.

Our e-book consortium, called OverDrive, just released its list of most-read e-books borrowed from member libraries in 2014.

"Gone Girl" is No. 1 on the e-book list and also No. 1 on the digital audiobooks list.

"The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt is No.2 on both lists.

So, no news there, really.

The REAL news is this: the total number of digital titles borrowed from libraries and schools last  year was up by more than 33 percent over 2013's number.

The number of digital audiobooks checked out in 2014 outpaced the number in 2013 by 38 percent.

Tablet and smart-phone checkouts accounted for 52 percent of all checkouts and 64 percent of all traffic.

I just have to think that authors gain a huge amount of popularity when their books get made into movies. The evidence is overwhelming at every level.

What you choose

What's the most popular category of materials in terms of numbers of checkouts?

For the year 2014, DVDs were the most checked-out items. The total was 26,484.

Patrons checked out 20,500 works of fiction during the year, compared to only 8,400 works of nonfiction and 4,700 books on CDs.

I don't have the numbers to show which nonfiction categories were most tapped into, but I will go out on a very substantial limb and say that we probably checked out nearly zero works in our genealogy section. That category has almost entirely moved online, what with Ancestry.com and similar sites.

I don't have a breakdown on how many children's books were checked out, but after we instituted our Read 1,000 Books B4 Kindergarten program the number zoomed upwards. I can tell that by what is checked back in on a daily basis.

Books for kids

Demand for children's materials continues to rise year over year here at the library.

Last year, we circulated 36,200 items in the youth-services department.

That's up from 34,400 the year before, and up by 5,000 over 2012 numbers.

I don't know what caused the jump from 2012 to 2013, but I bet a lot of the increase last year came about because we started the 1,000 Books B4 Kindergarten program.

Circulation was up year over year in almost every children's category except junior fiction. Board books, picture books and easy readers were all up slightly.

One thing we couldn't possibly measure was use of our new playground equipment. But, I sure saw a lot of moms and toddlers out there when the weather was nice. If you have not seen the gear, stop by.

It's a killer

Our patrons checked out works of fiction more often than they did works of nonfiction in 2014, according to our end-of-year statistical analysis.

The most popular novel was a surprise to me -- "Carnal Curiosity" by Stuart Woods.

The second most-checked-out novel was actually a six-way tie. But, interestingly enough, three of those six were by David Baldacci. They were "The Finisher," "King and Maxwell" and "Stone Cold."

Others in that group were "Gone Girl" by Gillian (no surprise there because the movie came out in 2014), "Sycamore Row" by Grisham and  "Moving Target" by Jance.

Among works of nonfiction, the item most checked out was "Killing Jesus" by O'Reilly (at the rate he's going, I'm guessing that O'Reilly will get around to "Killing Carroll Wilson" after my untimely demise), followed by "David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell.

I've not read the "Jesus" book, but I have read the Gladwell, and I will say it is a worthwhile book to read -- counter-intuitive to the maximum.

What will be hot in 2015?

Anything by Baldacci, Parker or Grisham. At least, that's the safe bet.


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