‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ again the most stolen book from Cape Town libraries

06 October 2021 - 10:21
Zachary Gordon, centre, plays Greg Heffley in the first of four movies based on the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' novels.
Zachary Gordon, centre, plays Greg Heffley in the first of four movies based on the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' novels.
Image: 20th Century Fox

Thirty copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway have made their way back to their homes in Cape Town’s libraries. 

Every year during National Book Week the city offers fine-free return days for overdue books, DVDs and CDs.

This year librarians welcomed back 75% of overdue items with 5,159 items returned, of which 2,149 were overdue by more than a year. 

The most overdue book was the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway, part of a popular fiction series by Jeff Kinney which follows the life of Greg Heffley, a school weakling. Interestingly, this book was released in 2017 and is not the latest in the series. 

In 2019, with Covid-19 closing the libraries for most of 2020, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul also topped the list of the most overdue book with 29 copies overdue at the city’s 104 libraries.

It seems parents are mostly to blame for overdue books as the other most overdue books were 88 copies of fairy tales.

MMC for community cervices and health Zahid Badroodien said the city’s libraries had a combined collection worth R859m and the city had installed a book detection system worth R5m for all libraries which would detect anyone trying to take a book without it being issued.

“We must ensure these materials are available for our patrons to enjoy, but often these are targets for thieves, and this is a loss we can ill afford.

“The high cost of books, particularly textbooks, means these are prone to theft. The sustainability of collections and being able to avail these resources to patrons who are not in a financial position to acquire them is imperative. Through this contract, library materials checked out by patrons will be better controlled, thereby minimising any potential loss, and at the same time sustaining and building on collections,” he said.

“Each year we encourage patrons to return overdue items without the fear of being fined, and this year we are happy to get back so many outstanding items. I want to thank our patrons for ensuring the material can be shared again and bring joy to others.”

According to the city, since 2018, 49,630 items had gone missing or have been stolen from libraries. These include 45,819 books, 1,962 DVDs and 1,712 music CDs.

“Library collections chronicle and give a glimpse into our history, communicate the present and can help us shape the future. We cannot allow unscrupulous thieves to walk off with materials which provide knowledge, joy and creative outlets to our patrons,” said Badroodien.