The New York Public Library released a list of its top 10 all-time most borrowed books. One book you won’t find on the list is “Goodnight Moon.” Despite being one of the most iconic children’s books of its time, the New York Public Library didn’t have a copy for decades, because an influential librarian didn’t like it. Plus: the amazing origins of Silent Record Week!
Top 10 Checkouts of All Time (New York Public Library)
The Quintessential Librarian Stereotype: Wrestling With the Legacy of Anne Carroll Moore (School Library Journal)
The Restorative Pause of Silent Record Week (New Yorker)
This week the New York Public Library released a list of its top 10 all-time most borrowed books.
The list is full of classics.
Number one is the landmark picture book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats – you’ll also find The Cat In The Hat, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Charlotte’s Web and To Kill A Mockingbird.
But as the library points out, one book you won’t find on the list is Goodnight Moon.
Despite being one of the most iconic children’s books of its time, the New York Public Library didn’t have a copy for decades, because a librarian didn’t like it.
Her name was Anne Carroll Moore, and she is a pretty big name in library circles.
Moore believed that kids belonged in libraries at a time lots of adults didn’t want them there, and she pushed hard to expand the New York library’s collection of books for younger readers.
But Moore also had a very particular sense of what books ought to be read by youngsters, and which should not.
It’s said she even had a stamp made that read something like “Not Approved By Expert,” and she’d stamp it inside any book she didn’t consider worth the library’s time.
Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon was apparently not approved.
Even though it was published in 1947 the New York library didn’t carry a single copy.
And because Moore was so influential, other libraries followed her lead.
It wasn’t until much later that the book started growing more and more popular. New York finally added it to the collection in 1972.
As the library says today, it hasn’t yet made it into the top ten most borrowed books, but, as the library says now, “give it time.”
And now to the audiovisual portion of our collection: The New Yorker had a piece the other day about a jukebox in 1959.
Some students at the University of Detroit snuck two records into a jukebox, one that was completely silent, the other with occasional beeps.
It was meant as a joke, but people started choosing the joke records because they liked the quiet.
The next year they named the first week in January Silent Record Week.