Every day, St. Thomas students filter in and out of O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library and usually pass right by the leisure reading section on their way to the computers or Coffee Bené.
The bookcase may seem small but the entire leisure reading section contains a surprising 312 titles including fiction, non-fiction, self-help books and cookbooks.
Yet St. Thomas staff members visit the leisure section much more than students, according to Associate Director of Collection Management and Services Linda Hulbert.
Many St. Thomas students, such as senior Sarah Dunlop, view the library as a place to work instead of a place to spend time with a good book.
“I generally just come here to study,” Dunlop said. “I can’t say I’ve ever actually checked out a book.”
Freshman Megan Tappe spends about four hours a day in the library but couldn’t pinpoint the location of the leisure reading section. She does plan to use it next semester for her English class.
“Once a week you have to bring your own book and read it and I don’t have a book yet for that,” Tappe said.
Other students, such as senior Nicole Malzahn, would prefer to find leisure reads elsewhere.
“I usually just buy my books for fun,” she said. “I like to keep them.”
Hulbert thinks students will show more interest in the section through other students’ book recommendations.
“We did have a student on the committee choosing [new books],” Hulbert said. “He graduated and I’d be delighted to have another student who enjoys reading to be part of the committee and they can help select for the section so that more kids will use it.”
A link to the leisure reads section can be found on the St. Thomas library homepage under “New Titles.” New books are added to the collection every month and students are even able to request a title they are interested in through the library website, Hulbert said.
The leisure reading section, according to Hulbert, is not only for entertainment purposes but also to spark an interest among the community.
“We want people engaged in the libraries, just in general but in the collections for sure,” Hulbert said.
Rebecca Omastiak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.