At Your Leisure: Establishing a Popular Reading Collection at UBC Library


Bailey Diers

University of British Columbia Library

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada



Shannon Simpson

University of British Columbia Library

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada



Received: 23 Nov. 2011                                                                Accepted: 21 Jan. 2012



Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: cc-ca_logo_xl 2012 Diers and Simpson. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons-Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License 2.5 Canada (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly attributed, not used for commercial purposes, and, if transformed, the resulting work is redistributed under the same or similar license to this one.





ObjectivesThis study investigated the leisure reading habits and preferences of students, faculty, staff, and community members at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in order to determine if a leisure reading collection would fulfill a need and, if so, what form that collection should take to best serve the population.


Methods – This study, conducted in October 2010, consisted of a 19-question online questionnaire distributed to a random sample of UBC undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and community library users and an identical, open participation questionnaire for the entire UBC community, including staff and community members. In addition to some demographic information, the questionnaire gathered information about leisure reading habits, tendencies, and the participants’ preferences for a potential future leisure reading collection at UBC Library.


Results – There were 467 valid responses out of 473 total responses received from UBC undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, and community members. Of the valid responses, 244 were received from the 1,500 random sample invitations (a 16.3% response rate). Additionally, the questionnaire was advertised for open participation for those not invited, resulting in the remaining 229 responses. Results of this study indicated overwhelming support for a leisure reading collection at UBC Library, with 94% of respondents stating they might or would use a leisure reading collection. This study also revealed strong leisure reading habits among all response groups. However, only 6% of respondents currently acquire most of their leisure reading materials from UBC Library. Additional analysis found that UBC Library already owns 81% of the titles and authors requested by respondents in the survey.


Conclusions – Based on the findings, the strong support for a leisure reading collection, and the fact that many UBC campus residents are not eligible for a free municipal public library card and borrowing privileges, there is a genuine need for a leisure reading collection at UBC Library. The data indicates that if accessible and convenient, a leisure reading collection could provide an opportunity for those who do not already read for leisure to do so. Additionally, a UBC Library leisure reading collection could attract community members, including those who are not UBC Library cardholders. In response to the results of the study, a pilot leisure reading collection was created in September 2011. This will make leisure reading materials easier to access and will allow the Library to further analyze the potential of such a collection, ultimately determining its future.






It has been identified that reading, in general, has valuable outcomes, and that leisure reading can support an academic library’s educational mission. “Leisure reading,” also referred to as pleasure or popular reading in the literature, is used in this article to denote reading fiction or non-fiction books of one’s own accord for pleasure or one’s own enrichment, rather than for work or school.  Due to the perception that leisure reading collections are outside a typical academic library’s goals and mission, many college and university libraries, including the University of British Columbia (UBC) (Vancouver, Canada), have been hesitant to house a leisure reading collection (Dewan, 2010). Some at UBC argue that providing leisure reading is the role of a public library. However, in the UBC context, many campus residents, including those living at undergraduate residences, do not have access to free public library services because the campus is not located in the City of Vancouver (Vancouver Public Library, 2011), and so there is a potential need for a leisure reading collection at UBC Library. The scope of this research was to answer the following:


Would the implementation of a leisure reading collection fulfill a need among UBC Library users?

What form should that collection take to best serve the population?


The feedback from all user groups – faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, and community members – helped to develop a broad picture of leisure reading habits and the appeal of a leisure reading collection across all campus groups. Conducting a questionnaire of this kind that includes many different constituencies within the UBC community expands the traditional definition of an academic library patron. Many studies reviewed for this article have either lacked input from library patrons or focused solely on undergraduate users. This research study aims to fill the void in the existing literature and presents a methodology that can be easily replicated at other institutions.


Literature Review


History of Leisure Reading Collections


Historically, promoting leisure reading was an important function of academic librarians. According to Zauha (1993), it was common for libraries in the 1920s and 1930s to have several recreational reading collections or “browsing collections” throughout the campus in libraries, dormitories, and student union buildings. Since then, the roles and mission of the academic library have migrated toward a more research-focused collection built on university curricula, resulting in a steady decline in browsing collections (Zauha, 1993).


Leisure Reading Habits Among Students


It is important to consider the reading habits and interests of patrons in order to build a successful leisure reading collection. The literature on leisure reading habits of students is rather uneven, mainly due to the varying definitions of leisure reading and what formats constitute leisure reading. Salter and Brook (2007) suggest that literary reading is in decline whereas general reading is on the rise. They attribute this rise to technology and specifically the general reading that is conducted on the Internet. They conclude that students do read and it is one of the choices they make for their leisure time, although it is not the predominant choice. The top choice for leisure time among the students surveyed by Salter and Brook is watching television or movies. While it would have been helpful for our purposes to see how available leisure reading materials were to these students, such as proximity of public libraries or popular collections within their academic libraries, Salter and Brook’s questionnaire and sound methodology are valuable resources and can be applied to explaining how academic libraries can use their resources to meet the recreational demands of their users.


Academic Uses for Leisure Reading Collections


While leisure reading collections are often created for library patrons’ recreational pursuits, there has been some research on how creating and exhibiting bestseller collections can promote academic research on past and current popular culture. Clendenning (2003) specifically addresses the creation of exhibits to promote and celebrate popular books in an academic environment for the purpose of academic research. Similarly, Crawford and Harris (2001) argue that academic libraries should consider establishing bestseller collections as a resource for future popular culture studies. Like Crawford and Harris, Van Fleet (2003) underscores the importance of collecting popular fiction for the sake of popular culture scholars, but also believes that providing popular fiction collections for leisure reading is necessary on its own merits.


Collection Policies


Little has been written discussing the presence of leisure reading collection guidelines in academic library collection policies. Hsieh and Runner (2005) surveyed 99 academic libraries in the United States and reviewed 30 collection development policies to see which type of library is most likely to have a policy on leisure reading, if and how patrons influence the collection, and additional “environmental factors,” including public library access for students and the percentage of students living on campus. They found that in total, only 14% of all libraries surveyed have “no-purchase” policies for leisure reading materials and that most of those with such policies resulted from either budget constraints or the library’s stance that leisure reading is not part of the library’s mission. While Hsieh and Runner’s article did not discuss collection development policies that support leisure reading purchases, they did state that an increasing number of academic libraries are beginning to adjust their policies to include leisure reading material.


Models for Leisure Reading Collections


The success or failure of various leisure reading collection models and formats such as e-books is also not heavily discussed in the current literature. One model that many libraries use is a book-leasing plan. Zauha’s (1998) article comparing Brodart’s McNaughton lease plan and Baker & Taylor’s Book Leasing Program, the two most popular book-lease plans, is important for its outline of what libraries need to consider before embarking on a leased collection project. Zauha also addresses the disadvantages of a leased popular reading collection, namely that such leasing programs are susceptible to being cut when budgets are tight. 


Similarly, Odess-Harnish (2002) conducted a survey of 22 academic libraries in the United States who use the McNaughton lease plan for 200-1,000 titles, in addition to or instead of purchasing books. Her study examined why the lease option was chosen, how successful it had been, and other factors that may have affected the use of the collection. Overall, Odess-Harnish found that libraries utilizing leased collections had positive responses; 54% of the libraries surveyed reported circulation statistics at least as high as originally expected and 23% reported that the titles circulate more than expected.


With recent developments in e-book technologies, libraries are also beginning to consider the use of e-readers for leisure literature collections. While there is emerging research on e-books and users’ reactions to e-books in academic environments, such as Rowlands, Nicholas, Jamali, and Huntington (2007), there is very little on e-readers and their application in libraries in general. In an experiment at Penn State University Libraries, Sony collaborated with the school to provide 100 e-readers for one academic school year. Behler (2009) discusses the results of the experiment and the techniques used to gather feedback on the devices.


Housing a Leisure Reading Collection


When embarking on creating a popular reading collection, libraries need to think about not only what type of model they will follow and what type of materials they will acquire, but where the collection will be located and how the physical space will appear. Research on design of the physical space of a leisure reading collection constitutes a gap in the literature. Woodward (2009), in her book, Creating the Customer-Driven Academic Library, dealing with the physical space of academic libraries, suggests a location for the popular reading collection (near the café) and mentions the need to include books that appeal to undergraduates. She does not specifically discuss the physical space of a popular reading collection and how to entice non-undergraduate users.


Leisure Reading Collection User Studies


Looking back at how successful leisure reading collections have functioned at other institutions is an excellent way to develop a vision of future leisure reading collections. Rathe and Blankenship (2006) at the University of Northern Colorado conducted a survey among users of their year-old popular reading collection and found that while the popular reading collection is mostly used for leisure, 11% of respondents noted that they used the collection for class work as well. Other studies, such as Sanders (2009), have surveyed both users and library staff. A common theme found in such studies is that library staff members’ perceptions of their leisure reading collection often are not supported by user experiences or usage data.


Summary of a Literature Review


In general, there is a large chronological gap in the literature about leisure reading and leisure reading collections in academic libraries. There is some discussion of leisure reading collections and the academic library’s role in promoting reading before 1940, but since academic libraries transitioned around 1940 to more directly supporting curricula and public libraries took over the recreational reading role, the literature has declined sharply. Discussion of popular reading collections in academic libraries has slowly been increasing in the last 20 years as leisure reading collections have gained more support, but much work remains to be done in this context (Dewan, 2010).


In addition to the lack of research on leisure reading collections in academic libraries, the findings in this area are often contradictory, because “reading” and specifically “leisure reading” are defined differently in every study. Because of the variety of definitions and conclusions, existing studies on literacy and leisure reading need to be read very carefully as a whole.


Overall, the literature is supportive of leisure reading collections, but ignores opponents of such collections in academic libraries. The negative aspects that may be involved are barely discussed, especially regarding changes in workflow, increases in workloads, and allocation of budgets and resources, all of which are important considerations for any library. Van Fleet (2003) and Elliott (2007) briefly mention the challenges of maintaining popular reading collections, but their statements are based on opinion rather than evidence. Additionally, research based on questionnaires given out to users of leisure reading collections usually focus on student patrons, often ignoring faculty, staff, and other users. It is important to address these users’ needs, especially since both Rathe and Blankenship (2006) and Odess-Harnish (2002) noted that faculty and staff were initially the largest group of users for their leisure reading collections. Looking at who uses leisure reading collections, why they use them, and what they would like to see done differently are useful questions that have yet to be addressed in the literature. 


Previous studies are narrow in scope, excluding student views and surveying users only after the leisure reading collection was established. This study differs in two regards. First, the breadth of those invited to participate – the inclusion of students, as well as staff, faculty, and community members – exceeds that of other studies. Secondly, surveying potential users before the collection is created is an excellent opportunity to see how well users’ perceived needs can be met with such a collection and will provide a baseline for future assessment. This study, therefore, aims to fill the above gaps in the literature. Additionally, the lack of generalizable results and contradictions among local surveys such as Rathe and Blankenship (2006) and Sanders (2009) reinforces the inability of the literature to predict local needs, and therefore required us to conduct our own study relevant to the UBC context.




In the spring and summer of 2010, we worked to assemble the questions for the leisure reading online questionnaire (see Appendix). The questions were formulated from information gleaned from the literature review and derived from our research questions. We used the Vovici EFM Survey Tool to create an online version of the questionnaire. Quantitative analysis was done using SPSS and qualitative responses were coded with ATLAS.ti. Three pilot tests of the questionnaire, consisting of a total of five participants – representing community members, faculty, and students – were held to determine the quality and flow of the survey. Additionally, we met with the UBC Library Collections Advisory and Development Committee to receive library staff input. Discussing the questionnaire with the pilot participants and library staff was invaluable for the revision process, resulting in substantial changes to the wording and order of questions.


Two different methods for sampling the various user populations were used. The first included targeting participants based on a random sample. The second method was advertising the questionnaire for open participation, which allowed participants not included in the random sample to complete the survey. The 19-question questionnaire was a conditional survey in that participants who indicated they would not use a leisure reading collection were asked a final follow-up question, whereas those who indicated they would or would maybe use a leisure reading collection were asked additional questions regarding space and format preferences for leisure reading. By eliminating those who would not use the leisure reading collection, we were able to isolate the responses pertaining to the collection itself to those users who would use the collection. The majority of the questions asked were multiple-choice and covered demographic information, participants’ leisure reading habits and preferences, and methods used to obtain leisure reading materials. Open-ended questions were also included for participants to share their opinions and even note particular authors, titles, and genres they would like to see in a leisure reading collection.


This study received approval from the University of British Columbia’s Ethical Review Board. The questionnaire ran for two weeks at the end of October 2010. An email reminder was sent to all invited participants one week into the study, with one week remaining.


Sampling Methods


Invited Sample


An email with a link to the online questionnaire was sent to a random sample of each of the user groups – UBC undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and library community members (individuals in the vicinity with UBC Library cards).


Due to UBC Library survey procedures, our sample size was restricted to a maximum of 1,500 and no individual group could exceed 500. Working within these parameters, we set sample sizes for each population in order to achieve enough responses for acceptable confidence levels and intervals. A base of 500 was set for undergraduates, the largest population on campus. The other groups were selected in increments of 100 relative to their campus population (see Table 1). In all, 1,500 email invitations were sent.


Table 1

Sample Size Chart


Population size

Number of survey invitations sent

Respondents (includes open survey)

Confidence level

Confidence interval




















Total of known populations







Community & Other








Not included in sample





Open Sample


Additionally, the survey was advertised for open participation on both the Library website “carousel,” a rotating image of library news and events, and in the local University Neighbourhoods Association community online newsletter. The open participation survey was a separate but identical survey included to capture responses from groups like UBC staff and community members that could not be directly targeted.




It is important to note that we realize the survey is somewhat biased towards support for a leisure reading collection. When presented with an added service, it is likely that many people will positively respond. Additionally, the data suggest that those respondents who replied to the open participation survey – who are likely already library users, considering many accessed the survey through the library website – were more likely to say that they would definitely use a leisure reading collection compared to those who were randomly selected to take the survey (see Figure 1). Where appropriate, we identify the differences between the two samples in our discussion.


Figure 1

Invited and open participation survey responses: support for a leisure reading collection


Results and Discussion


In all, 1,500 email invitations were sent and 244 completed responses were received (16.3% response rate). While this response rate may appear low, it is consistent with response rates of other surveys conducted by the University Library, including LibQUAL+® 2010 (University of British Columbia Library, 2010a). The open participation survey, a separate but identical survey that was included to capture responses from groups like UBC staff and community members that could not be directly targeted, resulted in an additional 229 responses, contributing to the

final total of 473 responses. Due to the similarity of the responses from both the open and invited groups, we do not feel that the seemingly low response rate has an effect on the overall results. The respondents from the open survey did indicate higher amounts of leisure reading than those who took the invited survey, so it is possible that some people who were already excited about leisure reading self-selected to participate in the open call. However, when comparing the open and invited responses, there are no significant differences between answers to questions pertaining to the potential Leisure Reading Collection at UBC. All results provided in this discussion are taken from the total valid responses.


Overall, there was strong indication that a leisure reading collection would be used: 62% of respondents stated that they would check out books from a leisure reading collection, 32% said they maybe would check out books from a leisure reading collection, and 6% indicated they would not use a leisure reading collection. Respondents who live on campus were 20% more likely to state they would use a leisure reading collection. Currently, bookstores, public libraries, and the Internet are the main sources of leisure reading materials (in order from most responses to least). Only 6% (invited survey 3.2%, open survey 8.6%) of respondents get most of their leisure reading materials from UBC Library, presenting an opportunity for UBC Library to increase its circulation and patron base through fulfilling leisure reading needs.  




The demographic breakdown between the open and invited surveys differed somewhat. Graduate students made up the majority of the invited survey results (34.6%), while undergraduate students made up the majority of the open survey results (36.3%). Faculty made up a greater percentage of the invited survey (17.5% vs. 6.2%), whereas more staff responded to the open survey (15% vs. 0.8%).


More community members, which included University alumni, responded to the invited survey than the open survey (20.5% vs. 18.8%).


Members of the Faculty of Arts comprised the majority of responses, followed by the Faculty of Science. These are the two largest faculties at UBC. There were 29% of respondents who do not have a local public library card. Of the total number of respondents, 25% live on the UBC campus; of these, 41% do not have a public library card, indicating that while leisure reading may be outside the traditional academic library’s purview and a public library responsibility, in the UBC campus context, public library access is limited. Therefore, the academic library is the primary source for borrowable leisure reading resources.


Reading Habits


Only 6% (invited survey 8.3%, open survey 3.5%) of the population stated that they did not read any books for leisure in the three months prior to the questionnaire, whereas 26% (invited survey 18.3%, open survey 33.6%) of respondents read more than six books for leisure in the same time period. When asked how many hours per week respondents read for leisure, only 3% (invited survey 4.6%, open survey 1.3%) indicated that they did not read for leisure at all and 49% (invited survey 41.5%, open survey 56%) of respondents read three or more hours per week. Those who do not read for leisure are in the minority and in fact the vast majority of respondents read for leisure.


Undergraduate Students


Since most of the literature on leisure reading collections in academic libraries has focused on undergraduates, our undergraduate data can be compared with other studies. Gallick (1999) found that when undergraduates were in session, only 37% read more than two hours per week for leisure. Our study, with an almost identical response rate as Gallick’s, actually found that 48% of undergraduates read two or more hours per week for leisure. Additionally, our study shows that over 92% of undergraduate students read for leisure in some form (see Figure 2). Interestingly, while only 10 total undergraduate students stated that they do not read for leisure, 9 of those students said that they would maybe or definitely use a leisure reading collection. This suggests that a leisure reading collection could entice those undergraduates who currently do not read for leisure to perhaps devote more time to leisure reading.


Figure 2

Average hours per week of leisure reading by group (combined sample)


Graduate Students


Our survey indicates that graduate students read for leisure even more than undergraduates, with 62% reading two or more hours per week. Even though it is perceived that time inhibits leisure reading, especially for graduate students, our findings indicate that most graduate students do make time for leisure reading.


Faculty and Staff


Of all of the user groups, faculty and staff spend the most time reading for leisure. There were 85% who read two or more hours per week and none indicated that they do not read for leisure. This would make faculty and staff prime leisure reading collection users to target based on their leisure reading habits.




Community members included alumni, UBC Library community cardholders, and UBC campus residents (non-students). Similar to faculty and staff, there weren’t any community members who indicated they do not read for leisure and 76% read two or more hours per week. While 42% of these community members do not have an active UBC Library card, 96% indicated they would or would maybe use a leisure reading collection at UBC Library, suggesting that community members could be an untapped patron base for the academic library.


Genres and Titles


Following Salter and Brook’s (2007) lead, we asked respondents what genres, titles, and authors they would like to see in a potential leisure reading collection. These lists are extremely helpful in providing a direction for selection procedures and making specific selections for a leisure reading collection. By including user-suggested authors and titles in the leisure reading collection, we hope to increase the success of the collection and reveal the Library to be responsive to user requests.


Bestselling fiction, award winners, bestselling non-fiction, classics, historical fiction, biographies, science fiction, mystery/suspense, and short stories were the most prominent genre choices for a leisure reading collection. However, some respondents suggested that the UBC Library could differentiate its leisure reading collection from public libraries and bookstores by promoting books of critical acclaim rather than popular appeal. While there is concern from some about the overlap of a leisure reading collection at UBC with the collections in the public libraries, this concern may not be wholly applicable in the UBC context because some individuals in the University community have no free access to public libraries. Many specified a desire for the collection to include magazines such as The New Yorker, The Economist, Vanity Fair, and Reader’s Digest. Respondents also mentioned preferring paperbacks and making sure there are enough copies of popular books to reduce wait time. When they were asked what languages would be desired, English was overwhelmingly the language of choice.


According to our collection analysis, UBC Library owns 81% of the specific titles and authors mentioned by respondents. Considering that only 6% of the respondents obtain most of their leisure reading resources from UBC Library, it is possible that many are simply not aware of the materials, particularly in regard to leisure reading, at UBC Library. The fact that leisure reading materials are not merchandized and not easily browsable means that the patron looking for these materials must know specific titles or authors, search the catalogue for call numbers, and then locate various titles on dispersed shelves. This process does not naturally lend itself to leisure reading needs. The results of our genre, title, and author analysis suggest that UBC Library could utilize many resources already owned to meet many of the leisure reading desires of its users by creating a separate browsable collection.




Print was overwhelmingly the format of choice for a leisure reading collection, with 97% of respondents indicating a preference for print, and 39% indicating some interest in an e-reader format. The Kindle, iPad, and iPod Touch were the most favoured, but overall there was substantial variation on the brand of e-reader preferred. While providing e-formats for a leisure reading collection might be something to consider in the future, the lack of consensus on format or device makes it difficult to pursue. 



Look and Feel


The two largest and most frequented libraries on campus were the preferred locations for a leisure reading collection. Most requests about the collection space itself were for a separate leisure reading area with comfortable couches and chairs and good lighting. A coffee shop or coffee vending machine is also highly desirable. Qualitative data regarding access to a leisure reading collection refer primarily to the need for the collection to be in a central location that can be easily browsed both physically and online. In addition, several respondents stated the desire to have leisure reading materials available electronically because of their distance from or infrequent visits to campus.

Using the online catalogue and browsing the physical shelves are the preferred methods of searching for books in the leisure reading collection, according to the quantitative data. Some, particularly graduate students, expressed interest in virtual bookshelves such as LibraryThing or Goodreads. Since our survey did not define what a virtual bookshelf is, this method for browsing may be underrepresented.


Overall Perceptions


Positive Sentiment


Response to the survey was strongly positive. Many stated in the additional comments that a leisure reading collection would be an “excellent idea” or a “great initiative.” People feel leisure reading is an important activity and find that UBC Library currently does not satisfy their leisure reading needs. Several respondents went as far as to suggest ideas for implementing a leisure reading collection at UBC, including building the collection with donations, having a shorter loan period, and developing a plan for keeping the collection sustainable. In addition to providing ideas for building a successful collection, respondents gave input on programs and techniques to promote the collection: book clubs, author talks, staff picks, themes, and displays. Many respondents indicated that a leisure reading collection would be a worthwhile addition to UBC Library if there was a large selection and the collection was properly promoted.


Negative Sentiment


Odess-Harnish (2002) found that of the 22 staff, all from different libraries, who responded to her survey, none believed that they should be doing more to support or collect popular reading titles. In that study, library staff reported the following reasons: there are time, budget, and space constraints; the books are not a part of the curriculum; there is no interest or demand from the patrons; students do not have time for pleasure reading; and if they so desire, there is a public library nearby. These claims mirror the negative sentiments found in our qualitative data among all respondents.


In our study, even some of the 94% of respondents who stated they would or would maybe use a leisure reading collection voiced concerns that leisure reading does not fall under the academic library’s mission, the library does not have the funding for such a collection, the collection could not be comprehensive enough to suit the community’s needs, and patrons simply do not have time for leisure reading. Those who would not use such a collection were not against the idea of a leisure reading collection, but simply cited lack of time as their main reason for answering no. This suggests that if a leisure reading collection were established in a location convenient and accessible to these individuals, they might find they do have time for leisure reading.


Implications for Practice: Establishing a Pilot Collection


The results of this study have led to the development of a pilot leisure reading collection (called Great Reads) at UBC Library. The collection is populated with the genres most requested in the survey. Using our collection analysis, which found that the library already owned the majority of titles requested by respondents, we were successfully able to populate the collection with books the library already owns. As of spring 2012 the Great Reads collection has been well received. The success of the collection pilot at the main library has led to a second collection, and a third Great Reads collection will be opening in the summer of 2012.




Overall, this study suggests strong leisure reading habits among all user groups, as well as support for a leisure reading collection at UBC Library. The data indicates that if provided in an accessible and convenient form, a leisure reading collection could provide an opportunity for those who do not read for leisure to do so. Additionally, a UBC Library leisure reading collection could attract community members, especially those who are not current UBC Library cardholders. Within the UBC context, this would further the strategic direction outlined in the Library’s strategic plan to engage with the community (University of British Columbia, 2010b).


The next step in this project is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot leisure reading collections implemented in response to this study and assess their success through circulation analysis and user feedback. Though changes in collection policies may be necessary for the long-term maintenance of such a collection, the leisure reading pilot currently underway is using only titles UBC Library already owns, merchandized in a separate, browsable leisure reading collection space. It is hoped that the assessment of the pilot can be compared with the results of this study to provide a before-and-after picture of leisure reading at an academic library.




We would like to acknowledge the UBC Library for its assistance on this project as well as Rick Kopak and Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez for their encouragement and support throughout this process.




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Clendenning, L. F. (2003). Rave reviews for popular American fiction. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 42(3), 224-228. 


Crawford, G. A., & Harris, M. (2001). Best-sellers in academic libraries. College & Research Libraries, 62(3), 216-225.


Dewan, P. (2010). Why your academic library needs a popular reading collection now more
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Elliott, J. (2007). Academic libraries and extracurricular reading promotion. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 46(3), 34-43.


Gallick, J. D. (1999). Do they read for pleasure? Recreational reading habits of college students. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 42(6), 480-488.


Hsieh, C., & Runner, R. (2005). Textbooks, leisure reading, and the academic library. Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services, 29(2), 192-204.


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UBC Library Leisure Reading Study

Tell us what you want in your library! We invite you to participate in this questionnaire as we consider the possibility of building a leisure reading collection at UBC. 

University of British Columbia Library
Leisure Reading Study

Participant Consent Form

Principal Investigators: Dr. Rick Kopak, School of Library, Archival & Information Studies at the University of British Columbia. He can be reached at 604-822-2898.

Co-Investigator(s): Bailey Diers and Shannon Simpson, School of Library, Archival & Information Studies at the University of British Columbia and Jo Anne Newyear Ramirez at the University of British Columbia Library. Bailey or Shannon can be reached at 604-822-2404.

This research is being undertaken to fulfill a course requirement for a Graduate Degree within the School of Library, Archival & Information Studies Program. The University of British Columbia Library will be given the aggregated results of this questionnaire to better enhance library services.


You are being invited to take part in this research study because you are a member of the University of British Columbia community. The University of British Columbia Library is considering the possibility of developing a leisure reading collection. We are investigating the need for a leisure reading collection and determining what users would like to see in such a collection.

Study Procedures:

If you are at least 19 years of age and agree to participate in this study, you will have the opportunity to fill out an online questionnaire. This questionnaire should take no more than 10 minutes; most participants finished the questionnaire in about 5 minutes.

Potential Risks:

This questionnaire will not pose any risks greater than you would incur with normal computer use.

Potential Benefits:

By participating in this questionnaire, you may directly benefit by helping contribute to the University of British Columbia Library collections.

If you would like to receive the results of the study after the completion of this study, please email


We do not ask for any identifying information in the questionnaire and there will be no way to connect you to your questionnaire results. Your email address, which is not connected to your responses, will only be used to enter you in the prize drawing and will not be used for any other purposes.

In thanks for taking the time to complete the questionnaire, you will have the opportunity to win one of four $50.00 gift cards to Chapters Bookstores. Please be aware that if you exit or close the questionnaire window you will not be entered in the drawing. If you wish to withdraw from the survey at any time and still would like to be considered for the prize, you may proceed to the end of the survey to click submit.

Contact for information about the study:

If you have any questions or desire further information with respect to this study, you may contact Bailey Diers or Shannon Simpson at

Contact for concerns about the rights of research subjects:

If you have any concerns about your treatment or rights as a research subject, you may contact the Research Subject Information Line in the UBC Office of Research Services at 604-822-8598 or if long distance e-mail to or toll free 1-877-822-8598.


Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary and you may refuse to participate or withdraw from the study at any time.


1)  Do you consent to participate in this questionnaire?


c   Yes, I consent to the terms above and am at least 19 years of age.

c   No, I do not consent to the terms above or I am under the age of 19. (By clicking Next Page you will exit the survey)

2)  Please select your UBC status.

c   Undergraduate Student

c   Graduate Student

c   Faculty

c   Staff

c   Community Member (without active UBC Library account)

c   Community Member (with active UBC Library account)

c   UBC Alumnus (without active UBC Library account)

c   UBC Alumnus (with active UBC Library account)

c   Other (please specify)


If you selected other, please specify               ______________________________________________________________________



3)  Please select your faculty.

c   Does not apply

c   Applied Science, Faculty of

c   Arts, Faculty of

c   Business, Sauder School of

c   Education, Faculty of

c   Forestry/Land and Food Sciences, Faculties of

c   Health Sciences

c   Law, Faculty of

c   Science, Faculty of

c   Undecided

c   Other (please specify)


If you selected other, please specify               ______________________________________________________________________


4)  Do you live on the UBC Campus or UBC Endowment Lands?

c   Yes

c   No



5)  Do you have a public library card from Vancouver Public Library or any public library in the Lower Mainland?

c   Yes

c   No



6)  Definition of Leisure Reading: In this survey, leisure reading means fiction or non-fiction books to be read for the sake of reading, on one’s own accord for pleasure or one’s own enrichment, and not for work or a class.

How many books (excluding school or work related books) have you read for leisure in the past 3 months?

c   None

c   1-2

c   3-4

c   5-6

c   More than 6



7)  On average, how many hours do you spend reading for leisure each week?

c   I don’t read for leisure

c   Less than 1

c   Between 1-2

c   Between 2-3

c   Between 3-6

c   More than 6



8)  If UBC Libraries had a leisure reading collection would you check out books from this collection?

c   Yes [Respondent will skip question #9]

c   Maybe [Respondent will skip question #9]

c   No [Respondent will be sent to question #9]

9)  Since you selected no, is there anything that would make a potential leisure reading collection appeal to you?               



10)  Where do you get most of your leisure reading material?

c   UBC Library

c   Vancouver Public Library

c   Other public library

c   Bookstores

c   Online

c   Other (please specify)

If you selected other, please specify               ______________________________________________________________________


11)  On average, how many of your leisure reading books do you get from UBC Libraries?

c   None

c   Some

c   Most

c   All



12)  What library on campus would you prefer to use for browsing and checking out leisure reading books? (Select all that apply)

c   Asian Library

c   David Lam Library

c   Education Library

c   Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

c   Koerner Library

c   Law Library

c   Music Library

c   Woodward Library

c   Xwi7xwa Library

c   Other (please specify)


If you selected other, please specify               ______________________________________________________________________


13)  How would you prefer to search for books within a leisure reading collection? (Select all that apply)

c   Online UBC Library Catalogue

c   Virtual Bookshelf (i.e. LibraryThing, Goodreads)

c   Browse the physical shelves of the collection

c   Other (please specify)


If you selected other, please specify               ______________________________________________________________________



14)  Which genres from a potential UBC Library Leisure Reading Collection would you be interested in reading? (Select all that apply)

c   Award Winners

c   Bestselling Fiction

c   Bestselling Non-fiction

c   Biographies

c   Children’s

c   Classics

c   Comic Books or Graphic Novels

c   Fantasy

c   Historical Fiction

c   How-to

c   Mystery/Suspense

c   Poetry

c   Romance

c   Science Fiction

c   Self-improvement

c   Short Stories

c   Young Adult

c   Other (please specify)


If you selected other, please specify               ______________________________________________________________________


15)  Which languages in a potential UBC Leisure Reading Collection would you be interested in reading? (Select all that apply)

c   Chinese

c   English

c   French

c   Japanese

c   Korean

c   Persian

c   Punjabi

c   Spanish

c   Tagalog

c   Vietnamese

c   Other (please specify)


If you selected other, please specify  ________________________________________________


16)  What format of leisure reading would you prefer? (Select all that apply)

c   Printed books

c   E-books on a computer

c   E-books on your personal e-reader

c   E-books on an e-reader that you check out from the library

c   Audiobooks



17)  If you selected e-readers as your response in the previous question, what brand of reader do you use or would you prefer to use?

c   iPad

c   iPod Touch

c   Kindle

c   Nook

c   Sony E-Reader

c   None

c   Other (please specify)              


If you selected other, please specify               ______________________________________________________________________

18)  Please recommend any authors or types of books that you would like to see in a potential leisure reading collection:



Please let us know of anything else you think we should consider in providing a leisure reading collection at UBC.




Thank you for participating in this questionnaire. We appreciate your feedback. You will be entered into a randomly selected drawing for a chance to win a gift certificate to Chapters bookstores. If you have any comments or questions regarding this questionnaire, please contact Shannon Simpson.




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