2023 Golden Goulds: The Most Borrowed Books and Authors from the Topsfield Town Library

At the end of each year, the Topfield Town Library staff rolls out the golden carpet and hands out the most prestigious literary award in Topsfield, Massachusetts (some may say the world, but we’re modest): the Golden Gould! Golden Goulds are awarded to the most borrowed books and authors at the Topsfield Town Library, and to staff picks of their favorite books/movies/media of the year.

The Golden Goulds are named after the library’s benefactor George L. Gould. Only the best of the best will come away with a Golden Gould …so who will it be? 

This first post will focus on the most borrowed books and authors in the previous year! The Top Ten earn their place in Golden Gould lore on the shortlist, with the top titles/authors winning the Golden Gould! Be on the lookout for part two of our Golden Goulds event: awarding staff favorites of the year, on January 3!

Most Checked Out Adult Titles of 2023

Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry wins a Golden Gould for most checked out title after coming agonizingly close in 2022 (#2 overall in 2022, and #1 in 2023!) showing unprecedented dominance at the Gouldies.

Library staff reached out to Bonnie Garmus to let her know of her victory, and she was nice enough to respond!

Email from Bonnie Garmus to the Topsfield Town Library staff.

Emily Henry appears in both 2022 (Book Lovers) AND 2023 (Happy Place) shortlists with different titles. In 2024, expect a new Emily Henry titled Funny People. Will this romance novelist make it three straight years with a novel in the Top Ten?

Most Borrowed Children’s Books

10. Karen’s Kittycat Club (Baby-sitter’s Club Little Sisters Graphic Novel) by Katy Farina
9. Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson
8. Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey
7. Kristy and the Snobs (Baby-sitter’s Club Graphic Novel) by Chan Chau
6. Frizzy by Claribel Ortega
5. Yummy! A History of Desserts by Victoria Elliot
4. Claudia and the New Girl (Baby-sitter’s Club Graphic Novel) by Gabriela Epstein
3. Guts by Raina Telgmeier
2. Boy-Crazy Stacey (Baby-sitter’s Club Graphic Novel) by Gale Galligan
1. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems WINNER

Among the usual suspects (e.g. Mo Willems) you will find many graphic novels on this list. We love graphic novels at the Topsfield Town Library. Read this blog post by Head of Youth Services, Lindsey Recka, about their importance, and consider trying one out.

Most Borrowed Young Adult Books

10. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
9. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
8. Enemies by Svetlana Chmakova
7. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
6. Crumbs by Danie Stirling
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4. The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
3. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
2. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
1. Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley WINNER

Most Borrowed Authors


10. Emily Henry
9. Taylor Jenkins Reid
8. Bonnie Garmus
7. Danielle Steel
6. Jodi Picoult
5. John Grisham
4. Marie Benedict (Did you know, we hosted a virtual author talk with Marie Benedict on October 4, 2023?!)
3. Elin Hilderbrand
2. Colleen Hoover
WINNER: James Patterson

Congrats to James Patterson for back-to-back Golden Gould wins for most borrowed author! In 2023, the Top Three remains exactly the same as 2022. We welcome newcomers Emily Henry, Danielle Steel, and Marie Benedict to this list in 2023!


10. Jerry Pallotta
9. Tracey West
8. Dean Kim
7. Aaron Blabey
6. Raina Telgemeier
5. Rick Riordan
4. Jeff Kinney
3. Tui Sutherland
2. Dav Pilkey
WINNER: Mo Willems

Congrats to Mo Willems for sweeping the Children’s Golden Goulds in 2023, as the top circulating author (for the second straight year!) with the top circulating book!

Young Adult

10. Tim Seeley
9. Sarah J. Maas
8. Angeline Boulley
7. Nathan Hale
6. Svetlana Chmakova
5. Karen McManus
4. Suzanne Collins
3. Laurie Halse Anderson
2. Alan Gratz
WINNER: Scott Cawthon

Congrats to Scott Cawthon for winning this year’s Golden Gould most borrowed YA author at the Topsfield Town Library!

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