Do Invercargill readers love their books too much?

Invercargill Public Library readers advisory librarian Andrew Eng reads 2014's most issued book.
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/FAIRFAX NZ

Invercargill Public Library readers advisory librarian Andrew Eng reads 2014's most issued book.

Life imitates art for Invercargill Public Library users - some can't get enough of reading crime, others can't stop committing petty crime. 

Light-fingered, or possibly just forgetful, library-goers have pilfered about 1,300 items from the library system in the past year out of a circulation of 600,000.

Library manager Marianne Foster said the most commonly issued, but not returned book was the New Zealand Road Code, but trends of missing items reflected overall stock.

"The majority of books we have are fiction so the majority of books that go missing are fiction."

Self-help books were also frequent targets, while other books, such as those about tattooing, were deemed high risk and now behind the counter.

Electronic games went missing so often they library had simply stopped stocking some titles, such as Grand Theft Auto.

Team leader Donald Cunningham said often books were not returned because they had simply been forgotten about.

"People often find things when they are moving around or doing a clear out and they'll bring the items back."

Overdue items incur a maximum fine of $5 but unreturned items also require a replacement fee.

And while petty crime could be responsible for some of the missing items, crime books generally are the most popular issued from the library.

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Lee Child's 'Jack Reacher' series took five out of the ten top spots of most popular books issued last year.

Manager of digital and communications Bonnie Mager said Lee Child's placing was in line with previous years.

"The people of Invercargill are consistently huge crime readers. Every year our top five books issued are crime books."

Despite the library now offering a wide range of items, books are still the main attraction.

"Books are still our main game. There has been an increase in other items as people become more aware of what else we have. Issues of CDs increased a lot when we made them free."

  • Most popular titles last year:

    • Book: Never Go Back by Lee Child

    • Young Adult: Hunger Games book series

    • TV Series: Breaking Bad

    • Graphic Novel: The Walking Dead series

    • Game: Call of Duty

    • Children's Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

    • CD: Lorde - Pure Heroine

 - The Southland Times

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