May 26, 2022

Australia: World’s Largest Database of Library Borrowing Records Uncovers Nation’s Secret Reading Passions

From the Sydney Morning Herald

Researchers from the Australian National University’s literature school will launch [database is now live] this week the new Australian Common Reader website, giving a historical snapshot of the nation’s reading habits drawn from what the university says is the world’s largest database of library borrowing records.

The records show borrowing habits – not catalogued books – from six Australian libraries between 1861 and 1928, not including the state libraries of Sydney and Melbourne.


The most popular book for women was On the wings of the wind by Anne Adaliza Puddicombe. Writing under the male pen name of Allen Raine, her native Wales featured in the best-selling romantic fiction.


The most popular publication for men was Household Words, a weekly magazine edited by Charles Dickens which included short stories and journalism aimed at the working class.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article (approx. 740 words)

Direct to Australian Common Reader Database

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.