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Where’s Wally? asks Cambridgeshire County Council’s library service

30 October 2023

A library service initiative to promote the return of missing books has discovered the ‘Where’s Wally’ series account for the highest number of missing titles across Cambridgeshire Libraries.

With more than 150 copies of the series including Where’s Wally?, Where’s Wally? in Hollywood and Where’s Wally now? – by author and illustrator Martin Hanford – listed among missing titles, it tops the list of books that the county council’s library staff want to recover.

The vast number of missing titles are for children or young adults, for which no fines are charged – so staff are keen to highlight that, and appeal for them to be returned, with no questions asked.

As winter draws in, and people look for low-cost fun things to do, a visit to the library is among the most economic things to do in Cambridgeshire. In warm and friendly surroundings, you can find a good book – either printed, audio or e-books, a free game or online access or join a special activity like a reading group.

Cambridgeshire is a county well served with 33 county council-run libraries, 12 community libraries, plus three library mobiles which serve 100 villages and communities each month. Its total book stock of more than 600,000 (or 1,000,000 counting audio and e-books), is replenished with an additional 52,000 bought each year to keep stock up to date – so having just over 11,000 on the missing list is a small, but still significant amount.

“Last week we launched our BeWinterWise campaign to join up all the activities, events and advice to keep people safe, well and active during the winter months,” said Cllr Tom Sanderson, Chair of the Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee. “And clearly all the activities you find in our libraries are really important to that as the nights draw in and people can feel lonely and isolated.

“It’s free to join the library, and we really invest in making sure there are a good stock of items, activities for all and longer opening times in many. So please, if you have one of our missing books on your shelves – return it so that other borrowers can enjoy it too.

“Particularly if it is a Where’s Wally title!” he added.

Top ten missing titles from Cambridgeshire Libraries

Title - number currently missing:

  • Where’s Wally? - 32
  • Where’s Wally? In Hollywood - 32
  • Horrid Henry reads a book - 29
  • Horrid Henry reads a book (different edition) - 29
  • DogZombies Rule (for now) - 28
  • Where’s Wally Now? - 27
  • Maisie Goes to London - 24
  • Poke…mon adventures 3 - 24
  • The Queen’s Hat - 24
  • Wake up do, Lydia Lou - 24

In addition there are 21 copies each missing of Where’s Wally?: The Fantastic Journey, and Where’s Wally?: The Wonder Book.