LIBRARY chiefs have revealed the most-borrowed books in York – with a locally-born novelist reaching number four in the chart.

In the period from July last year to June this year, of York-born Kate Atkinson’s novel When Will There Be Good News? – which the Washington Post described as “a remarkable feat of storytelling bravado” – was issued 320 times in the city. Among the adult books, it was less popular only than Linwood Barclay’s gripping thriller No Time For Goodbye (490 issues) John Hart’s Down River (349 issues) and Rose Tremain’s The Road Home (342 issues).

The figures, released by City of York Council, include books borrowed from York’s 14 library branches and the city’s mobile facility.

Helen Whitehead, of the authority’s libraries department, said: “It’s interesting to think about the factors which influence the books people choose. People using libraries are often very open-minded about what they read. Because there is no cost, people feel able to take a chance, without sticking to familiar authors.

“Whenever we create displays of recommended books, or prize-winning books, people are willing to give these a go.

“It’s good to see Kate Atkinson on the list, with her local connection. You can’t underestimate the power of personal recommendations either – our reading groups have been raving about The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher, and it’s becoming a big word-of-mouth success.”

The most in-demand children’s book was Martin Handford’s Where’s Wally?, which was borrowed 351 times. More popular, however, than any book was the smart meter, which measures how much electricity has been used in the home. The device was hired on 619 occasions. During the period July 2007 to last June, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows topped the popularity list at York Central Library, with 456 issues. The second most popular book at the library, Kate Morton’s The House At Riverton, was issued 295 times.

£50,000 in fines

FORGETFUL bookworms racked up fines of nearly £50,000 at York’s libraries last year, new figures have shown.

Staff at the council’s libraries around the city collected £46,649 from late book fines in 2008/9. More than half of that figure – £27,688 – was collected at the Central Library in Museum Street, up from £25,224 in 2007/8.

The fine for late books was increased in April 2008, from 12p a day to 15p a day.