Superworm sets 2023 record in Hertfordshire libraries

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s rhyming storybook tells the tale of a super long, super strong worm who’s always on hand to help others
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

‘SUPERWORM’ was the most popular book loaned by Hertfordshire’s network of libraries this year.

The rhyming storybook – with words by Julia Donaldson’s and images by Axel Scheffler – tells the tale of a super long, super strong worm who’s always on hand to help others.

And library bosses at Hertfordshire County Council say it has been taken out by younger readers a total of 2447 times so far in 2023 – more than any other title.

Hemel LibraryHemel Library
Hemel Library

Away from children’s fiction, they say the most popular book was Richard Osman’s ‘The bullet that missed’ – which was loaned 1778 times

But its another children’s classic that has been earmarked for a more dubious record by the county’s library officials this year.

Data from the county council shows that Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ ranked as the county’s most likely to be overdue book in 2023 – with 75 copies not yet returned.

During the summer holidays this year around 20,000 children visited libraries to take part in the annual Summer Reading Challenge, ‘Ready, Set, Read’. That’s 25 per cent more than in 2022.

As part of the challenge children had to read six books – helping a fictional superstar team ‘weave their way through a summer obstacle course’.

And library officials say 1167 children joined the library to specifically take part.

Commenting on the success of the libraries in 2023, executive Member for Libraries, Localism and Education Cllr Caroline Clapper also points to the ‘slipper swap’ events.

As part of those events 536 slippers were handed out to new owners – in a bid to prevent slips, trips and falls.

“We’re really pleased that our libraries have had another successful year,” said Cllr Clapper.

“From slipper swaps to the summer reading challenge, we’ve helped residents both young and old get inspired to read and stay safe from slips and falls.

“Our library teams work incredibly hard throughout the year and we look forward to a thriving 2024.”