Pleasure Reading Among First-Year University Students


  • Melanie Parlette Conestoga College, Kitchener
  • Vivian Howard Dalhousie University



pleasure reading, academic librarianship, readers' advisory


Objectives – This study examines the reading habits and experiences of first-year undergraduate students at Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Methods – First-year undergraduate university students (aged 18 to 20) were recruited to take part in focus group discussions and responses were analysed to examine the following topics: (1) the role of reading in their lives, both academic and personal; (2) the development of reading habits from childhood; (3) reading engagement strategies; and (4) selection strategies.

Results – This study suggests that reading for pleasure is a well-established habit amongst many first-year undergraduate students. First-year undergraduates primarily read for pleasure in order to relax but also recognize that pleasure reading can play a positive role in their academic performance, enhancing their range of background knowledge as well as their active vocabulary.

Conclusions – The conclusions of this research provide recommendations for librarians and university administration to engage students and increase rates of retention in postsecondary institutions. In particular, recommendations related to the importance of pleasure reading collections, campus reading programs, book clubs, readers’ advisory services and quiet and comfortable reading areas in academic libraries are provided.


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Author Biographies

Melanie Parlette, Conestoga College, Kitchener

Melanie Parlette is a graduate of the MLIS Program in the School of Information Management, Dalhousie University. She currently lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Vivian Howard, Dalhousie University

Vivian Howard is an assistant professor in the School of Information Management, Dalhousie University. She is also the academic director of the Bachelor of Management Program.




How to Cite

Parlette, M., & Howard, V. (2010). Pleasure Reading Among First-Year University Students. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 5(4), 53–69.



Research Articles