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Explore library book popularity using a dashboard with access to over 100k books!

Updated Jul 30, 2018 (Originally Published Jan 29, 2018)
Matt Dubins

This winter season I collected information from the Toronto Public Library website on exactly 103,955 books.  I wanted to explore what types of library books were most popular.  Big books?  Little books?  Funny books?  Sad books?  English books?  Russian books?  The list goes on and on. 

I've created a web app that will allow you to see for yourself what was popular at the Toronto Public Library this winter season.  The one thing to explain before I show you this app is what measure of popularity that I used.  I call it the 'holds to copies ratio'.  It's very simple: for any book on the TPL website, you take the # of holds, and divide that by the # of copies.  If the resulting number is higher, the book, or group of books, is popular than lower numbers.  

Another way to look at it is if the holds to copies ratio is over 1, there have been more holds requested than copies available!  Similarly, if the holds to copies ratio is under 1, then they have had fewer holds requested than copies available. 

Without further ado, please see my app below and most importantly, have fun!

P.S. To reveal more horizontal space in the app, please press the icon with the 3 horzontal dashes (=).


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Just in case you're curious for some general information about the books whose information I gathered, have a look at the plots below:



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