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About a year ago I decided to make a little separate Travel section for Evanston Public Library’s books. This allowed me to do two things:
• Figure out how many travel books we actually had on our shelves and
• Weed out all the egregiously ancient ones.

So we picked them up and moved them to their own area on the east side of the second floor where they face the windows. But one problem with moving these books was that now that we looked at them, we didn’t have a whole lot to show. The solution? Buy whole heaping handfuls of travel books. Lots and lots of them from reliable sources (Fodors, Frommers, National Geographic, Insight, DK, etc.). The trouble was that I didn’t have any statistics to tell me which cities and countries were the most popular. After all, Evanston isn’t like other communities. Its residents have their own particular tastes and preferences.

Now that it’s been about a year since the move (and the new purchases) I’ve been able to run a report on the most popular individual titles in the Travel section. From this I’ve been able to determine what goes out and what doesn’t, which will inform my selections in the future.  For example, Moscow? Not all that popular. Go figure.

So where are Evanstonians going? See Sidebar.
Here are the Top 20 most popular desti-nations as determined by the number of times individual books at EPL have gone out:

A quick note about these stats: There’s no way to determine how many of these circulations are by armchair travelers vs. actual travelers. We’ve noticed that a lot of people just like to check out travel books to dream about where they’d like to go, not where they will go. Even so, it doesn’t cost anything to dream. Stop by and check out some books on your favorite location next time you’re here. I guarantee it’ll be up-to-date.

Most Checked Out Travel Books

1. Discover Barcelona  2. Frommer’s Costa Rica  3. Frommer’s Hawaii  4. Frommer’s Italy  5. Rick Steves’ London  6. Fodor’s Kauai  7. Pocket rough guide. Prague  8. Vienna pocket guide  9. Rick Steves’ Rome10. The Brooklyn experience: the ultimate guide to neighborhoods & noshes, culture & the cutting edge/Ellen Freudenheim; [foreword by Steve Hindy]11. Only in Paris: a guide to unique locations, hidden corners, and unusual objects/Duncan J. D. Smith; photographs by Duncan J. D. Smith12. Moon Southwest road trip13. Rick Steves’ London14. Rick Steves’ Pocket Prague15. Frommer’s EasyGuide to Paris16. Eyewitness Prague17. Lonely Planet Southwest USA18. Fodor’s complete guide to the national parks of the West19. The national parks coast to coast: the 100 best hikes / Ted Alvarez20. Rick Steves’ Paris

Betsy Bird

Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library.