Tony Ross tops 'most borrowed illustrators' list

Tony Ross tops 'most borrowed illustrators' list

Data released by Public Lending Right (PLR) has revealed that "Horrid Henry" illustrator Tony Ross was the UK's "most borrowed" illustrator across public libraries last year.

The inaugural chart consisting of the 50 most-borrowed illustrators, also includes Quentin Blake, Shirley Hughes, and current Children’s Laureate Lauren Child.

The top three "most borrowed" illustrators on the list have each accrued over one million loans. Following Ross, in second place is recent winner of the inaugural Bookbug Picture Book Prize, Nick Sharratt, and, in third, "Gruffalo" illustrator Axel Scheffler.

Ross expressed his delight on taking the title of "most borrowed" illustrator: “WOW! That is wonderful, although I would think I have had some help from fantastic authors, such as Jeanne Willis, David Walliams, and Francesca Simon. Thank you library users. I’m surprised, proud, and delighted.”

Completing the top 10, were: Alex Brychta, Quentin Blake, Mick Inkpen, Korky Paul, Lucy Cousins, Liz Pichon and David Roberts.

Children’s laureate Child ranked 16th on the list of 50, beating last year's children's laureate Chris Riddell, ranked 45th. She said: “It's wonderful that the success of illustrators is now recognised in this PLR ranking. Illustrations play such a significant role in the enjoyment of books and libraries play such an important role in bringing books to children throughout society. The recognition that PLR now offers illustrators for their work is a much welcome and important step in highlighting the unique contribution of the illustrator to the success of the book."

Sarah McIntyre of Pictures Mean Business, an equal credit campaign for illustrators and writers, also welcomed publication of the list, adding that she hoped publishers would update their own data systems so readers can find information about books' illustrators as easily as they do their authors. 

“Money earned from PLR is a real lifeline to so many hardworking illustrators, but most of the people who tell stories through pictures in books struggle to build a name for themselves professionally," she said. "I'm thrilled to learn the PLR team have compiled a list of the top 50 most borrowed illustrators from UK public libraries. I hope one day in the near future, publishers will update their data systems and people will be able to find this information on illustrators as easily as they can find it on writers.”

PLR is run by the British Library and gives authors the legal right to receive payment from government each time their books are loaned through the public library system. In February 2017 PLR distributed £6m to 22,202 authors at a rate-per-loan of 7.82 pence. Its funding remains at £6.6m up to 2019.

The full list of the Top 50 Most Borrowed Illustrators for 2015/16 is as below:

1.   Tony Ross                                 18. David Melling                                    35. Guy Parker-Rees
2.   Nick Sharratt                              19. Michael Foreman                              36. Sophy Williams
3.   Axel Scheffler                             20. Emma Chichester Clark                   37. Jez Alborough
4.   Alex Brychta                               21. Sue Hendra                                      38. Dr Seuss
5.   Quentin Blake                             22. Adrian Reynolds                              39. Jill Murphy
6.   Mick Inkpen                                23. Roger Hargreaves                           40. Lee Wildish
7.   Korky Paul                                  24. Martin Brown                                   41. Tim Warnes
8.   Lucy Cousins                              25. Ben Cort                                          42. Stephen Cartwright
9.   Liz Pichon                                   26. Rod Campbell                                  43. Shirley Hughes
10. David Roberts                             27. Garry Parsons                                 44. Anthony Browne
11. Lydia Monks                                28. Jean Adamson                                45. Chris Riddell
12. Eric Hill                                        29. Roger Priddy                                   46. Mike Gordon
13. Rachel Wells                               30. Emily Gravett                                   47. Eric Carle
14. David McKee                               31. Oliver Jeffers                                   48. Sam Lloyd
15. Emma Dodd                                32. Georgie Ripper                                49. Jane Chapman
16. Lauren Child                                33. Debi Gliori                                       50. Alex T Smith
17. Steve Smallman                          34. Dav Pilkey