GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Fiction ruled the stacks at Kent District Library over the last year, with readers checking out more than a million books in that genre in 2022.

The library system gave News 8 the top 10 books checked out in 2022 from its physical collection:

The top two books each had over 1,000 checkouts, the library said.


Books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeffy Kinney and “Dog Man” by Day Pilkey were popular amongst youth readers, KDL says.

“‘Dog Man’ and ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ hit all high marks for almost any age level,” Joyanne Huston-Swanson, the Bookmobile operator for KDL, said. “It seems to be about the same (amount of) boys and girl readers, so it’s kind of genderless in that respect, too. … People really enjoy those and they continue to be really popular.”

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” a series that was first published in 2007, “has longevity,” Huston-Swanson said.

Some of the top books checked out during 2022 in KDL.
Some of the top books checked out during 2022 in KDL.

Kids tend to check out physical books more than digital copies, she said, though that can be a great tool for youth readers.

“For those kids that are struggling with traditional methods of learning to read and learning those strategies of literacy, having it on a device with an e-reader or a phone can bridge that gap,” Huston-Swanson said.

She said the e-readers offer tools like changing the font so it is easier for readers on the spectrum of dyslexia. Digital audio books can also help students whose first language is not English, she said.

For teen readers, graphic novels have been very popular.

“Graphic novels are a huge win with teen readers,” Huston-Swanson said.

Other genres that were popular with teen readers this past year were science fiction, urban legends, romance and true crime.


The top titles checked out digitally using OverDrive differed from the list of books physically checked out.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens was the most popular, with over 4,500 checkouts of the book in both audio and written form.

Other titles that were popular on OverDrive were “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, “The Maid” by Nitra Prose, “Verity” by Colleen Hoover, “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig, “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles, “The Last Thing He Told Me” by Laura Dave and “Beach Read” by Emily Henry.

Some of the top books checked out during 2022 in KDL.
Some of the top books checked out during 2022 in KDL.


Fiction was by far the top genre, KDL said, with 1,140,458 physical books checked out.

“There was one nonfiction title,” Huston-Swanson said, pointing to “Atomic Habits,” a self-help book about changing habits by James Clear.

“Reading, especially for adults right now, remains an entertainment,” Huston-Swanson said. “People are looking for an escape.”

In hard copy, fiction was followed by nonfiction, graphic novels, science fiction/fantasy, mystery, romance, inspirational, holiday, coping (youth) and historical fiction (youth).

On OverDrive, the most-read genres after fiction were literature, romance, thriller, suspense, nonfiction, mystery, juvenile fiction, historical fiction and fantasy.

Inside the KDL Bookmobile.
Inside the KDL Bookmobile.


The thing checked out more than anything else wasn’t a book, KDL said: It was Wi-Fi hot spots. Hot spots are just one of many items that aren’t books that are available to check out.

“Wi-Fi and internet access continues to be a huge barrier to all kinds of services for our patrons,” Huston-Swanson said.

The hot spots have helped people in both rural and urban communities, especially since the pandemic, she said.

KDL has around 1,000 hot spots available to check out.

Wi-Fi hot spots are items many local libraries throughout West Michigan have started to offer.

The KDL Bookmobile.
The KDL Bookmobile.


If you’re not sure which book to pick up next, Huston-Swanson recommended going to the KDL website to get personalized recommendations. After you fill out a form with your information like what genres and authors you enjoy, a librarian will create a list of titles you might like.

“It’s one of my favorite features, one of my favorite services that we’re able to provide,” Huston-Swanson said.

You can also check out the What’s Next database to find the next book in a series or chat with your local librarian.

Whatever title you pick up next, Huston-Swanson said it’s just important that you’re reading.

“Reading is an essential skill. I’m sorry, kids. I know you might not want to hear this, but it’s an essential skill,” she said. “Even when we’re reading just for enjoyment and entertainment … you’re still learning and you’re still adding to all of the skills and your ability to interact with others and the community around you.”