I have many fun tools to play with at the library. Tools that tell me when items haven’t circulated in years and years. Tools that inform me how well I’m keeping up with popular materials. Tools that tell me when an item on the shelf is “grubby.” That last tool is an interesting one. Basically, it indicates which materials have circulated the most. From this list I’m able to reorder those books and switch out the gross for the shiny.

In theory.

In practice a lot of the books with the most circulations are out-of-print or a devil to find online.

Today we’re going to look at the true and factual books on our shelves with the highest circulations. What do Evanstonians like to read the most? Here’s a top ten list that may well surprise you:

1. “The Fall of Berlin 1945” by Antony Beevor
Description:  A terrible story of pride, stupidity, fanaticism, revenge, and savagery, yet it is also one of astonishing endurance, self-sacrifice, and survival against all odds.

2. “Evanstoniana: An Informal History of Evanston and Its Architecture” by Margery Perkins
Description: This book concentrates on Evanston’s rich legacy of houses, and also covers other kinds of architecture, including many past and present buildings of Northwestern University.

3. “Evanston” by Barbara J. Buchbinder-Green
Description: A pictorial history of the city.

4. “Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China” by Jung Chang
Description: The story of three generations in 20th century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history.

5. “West Side Story: A New Musical Based On a Conception of Jerome Robbins” by Leonard Bernstein
Description: The score of the famous musical. An indication of the age of this item is the fact that the show is described as “new” in it subtitle.

6. “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times” by Pema Chödrön
Description: This book teaches us how to awaken our basic goodness and connect with others, to accept ourselves and others complete with faults and imperfections, and to stay in the present moment.

7. “Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays” by David Sedaris
Description: With a perfect eye and a voice infused with as much empathy as wit, Mr. Sedaris writes stories and essays that target the soulful ridiculousness of our behavior.

8. “Evanston; Its Land and Its People” by Viola Crouch Reeling
Description: The book describes itself it is, “a narrative with historic value, citing great events and small happenings, and … is carried only to the  year of 1900.”

9. “The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live” by Sarah Susanka
Description: The Not So Big House proposes clear guidelines for creating homes that serve spiritual needs as well as material requirements.

10. “All Sondheim” by Stephen Sondheim
Description: A collection of the composer’s earliest works.