Boston Public Library Wraps Up the Decade in Books

BOSTON – December 20, 2019 – The Reader Services Department at the Boston Public Library (BPL) has been busy reflecting on the best and most popular books of the year and of the decade.

The BPL published its annual list of the top borrowed titles of the year and the staff’s favorite books of the year.

To celebrate the end of the decade, the Boston Public Library (BPL) published fifteen "2010s Top Ten" booklists for different categories, ranging from picture books to self-help guides.

“What a difference a decade makes,” said BPL President David Leonard. “As we close the book on the 2010s, the Boston Public Library is just as vibrant and relevant as ever, ever-evolving to meet the needs of patrons. Just this year, we surpassed two million digital checkouts for the first time, with digital audiobooks checkouts increasing by 45% over 2018.”

Over the past decade, the Boston Public Library has seen 40.1M system-wide visits, facilitated 3.6M WiFi sessions, hosted over 122,000 programs, and welcomed 84.9M visits to During this time, 45.6M items have been circulated and 10.1M digital items, like e-books and audiobooks, have been downloaded.

With the 2010s coming to a close, BPL staff carefully considered a decade’s worth of books to come up with top picks across popular book categories. They discussed books’ artistic vision, popular appeal, critical reception – and their own personal taste! After some debate, they identified 150 books that helped define the decade in books.

Check out the BPL’s fifteen "2010s Top Ten" book lists:


This list of the top 25 most frequently borrowed books – representing all ages and formats – features a range of acclaimed, prize-winning, and bestselling works by talented writers.

“In 2019, BPL cardholders continued to value staying up to date with popular media and culture,” said Collection Development Manager Melissa Andrews. “Michelle Obama's memoir was the most borrowed book of the year, with over 9,700 checkouts in 2019. Worth noting, nine of the top ten books were written by women!”

Top Borrowed Titles in 2019

For those looking for more inspiration, staff from the Boston Public Library also put together a booklist of their favorite books of 2019, from adult fiction and nonfiction to graphic novels, children’s fantasy, and everything in between.

Staff Picks: Best Books of 2019

In 2019, the BPL added 86,525 new library card holders, loaned more than 2.5M items, and saw 2.4M downloads of e-books and audiobooks. By the end of year, total checkouts will exceed 5.2M.

Anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Massachusetts may have a library card. Visit any BPL location for a card or sign up for an e-card. Titles are available in many formats. Stop by and borrow one today or reserve your copy online at

Disagree with our choices? Tweet us @BPLBoston and let us know! #BPL2010sTopTen #BPL2019Picks