The recently compiled a list of its most frequently checked out books for young adults, adults, children and audio, with Domine el GED ranking among the top for adults and How to Pass the U.S. Citizenship Test and Interview taking the lead in popular audio books.
So, what does this say about the Watsonville community?
Library director Carol Heitzig said she believes the popularity of these books rests in the needs of the Watsonville community.
“I think our collection and the things that are most popular are really reflective of the community that we have and the importance of a library in people's lives to actually get that information,” she said. “I really do believe that people use this library to find answers to questions that are really important in their lives, and I was really happy that this statistic sort of bore that out.”
Heitzig attributed the popularity of GED (General Educational Development) books—the library holds more than 30 copies in both English and Spanish—to students seeking other methods to receive their education, as well as adults going back to get their degrees.
“I do believe there are more younger people who are opting out from traditional high school education,” she said. “[And] there are a lot of older people who are saying 'I never did [that], I never got that high school diploma, I dropped out, I fell through the cracks'—and know that they can go back and do it.”
Domine el GED (Master the GED), which has been checked out 23 times since the start of the year, ranks No. 3 out of the top five most frequently checked out books for adults and young adults, following Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich and Freedom by Johnathan Franzen.
Other popular adult/young adult books include Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson.
“How to Pass the U.S. Citizenship Test and Interview by Peter Doherty ranks No. 3 out of five in the most popular audio books category and has been checked out more than a dozen times this year.
Alex Chavez, 33, of Aptos who has worked for the library for 10 years, says he sees this audio book being checked out at least two or three times a week.
Other top ranking audio books include a mixture of self-improvement and relationship-building books, with Calidad Humana (Human Quality) and Cómo Pelear con Sus Seres Queridos (How to Fight with Your Loved Ones) both by Carlos Cuauhtémoc Sánchez being among the two most popular audio books, followed by Lavender Morning by Jude Deveraux and Sea el Factor de Cambio en Su Trabajo (Be the Factor of Change at Your Work).
Among children's books, La Primera Nevada de Clifford (Clifford's First Snow Day) and the classic The Very Hungary Caterpillar by Eric Carle take the cake in top-book rankings, followed by Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People by Dav Pilkey.
Other popular children's books include Cómo el Grinch Robó la Navidad (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) by Dr. Seuss and Navidad en Familia (Family Christmas) by Kasparavicius Kestutis.
As can be seen with the title of most of these books, not only are community members on a self improvement mission, but the majority of these books are in Spanish—something Heitzig attributes to the large Hispanic population in the area.
“The [library] collection has always reflected the needs of the community, and, of course, the Spanish population has grown exponentially since I've been here, so I was really interested to see that so many of the top circulating items are in Spanish,” Heitzig said.
For more information on the Watsonville Public Library, click here.