2015 Winner: At Your Leisure: Providing leisure reading materials to a university community through an academic and public library initiative

It is with the greatest of appreciation that we extend our thanks to the Board of Directors and the Manager of CAUL-CBUA for providing this research grant. Sponsorship garnered through initiatives like this help to support and encourage research and innovation, as well as collaborative endeavors that bring new services and ideas to the greater library community. We would also like to acknowledge the support and endorsement of our home institutions: StFX University and the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library.


Project Team

Suzanne van den Hoogen
Public Services Librarian
Angus L. Macdonald Library
StFX University
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

Kristel Fleuren-Hunter
Antigonish Branch Librarian
Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library
The People’s Place Library
Antigonish, NS B2G 5E3


At Your Leisure: Providing leisure reading materials to a university community through an academic and public library initiative

The following objectives for this project were identified as:

Building Partnerships & Collaborations: Although partnerships between academic libraries are common, this initiative will encourage and provide opportunities for other academic libraries to partner with their local public libraries.

Collection Enhancement & Awareness:  Monograph budgets in academic libraries are in decline. The ability to facilitate access to the existing collections of our public library provides a cost-savings opportunity to enhance access to a leisure-reading collection. This project will increase patron awareness to the broader collections held by our local public library.

Increasing Literacy: It is not uncommon for university students, staff and faculty to request access to “popular” fiction and non-fiction selections within the university library. Access to a leisure reading collection housed on campus is expected to meet this demand.

Identifying the Library as Place: Today’s digital age has created a generation who expect to find all the information they need online. The installation of a print leisure reading collection will encourage students, staff and faculty to physically come into the library.

Increasing Library Community Awareness:  By increasing awareness through conference presentations and publications, we hope to encourage and influence the greater library community to develop similar partnerships.

A detailed description of the project, methodology and results is available from:


Abstract of the paper

Leisure reading collections were once as integral to academic libraries as they currently are to public libraries. The benefits of leisure reading include lifelong learning, increased literacy, benefits to mental health, and reading for the simple pleasure of reading. Equally important, however, are the benefits that libraries obtain from providing access to collections that are reflective to the needs of their patrons. This project examined the results of a partnership between an academic and public library to provide access to leisure reading materials to a university community through a one-year pilot project. Data were collected using circulation statistics, gate counts and comment cards in the form of book inserts. During the pilot, gate counts increased by 6%, and 91% of participants indicated that they would continue to use the collection often or sometimes. The pilot was officially adopted as a new service at the end of the one-year trial period.


Dissemination of Findings


List of Expenditures



APLA  Conference Registration


NSLA  Conference Registration


Conference Travel


Student Research Assistant




PARL: Lost Books