Student reading

A student enjoys the Great Reads collection at Koerner Library.

Calling all reading fans: popular fiction has a new home at UBC Library. The Great Reads collection was launched in 2011 by Shannon Simpson, a co-op student who conducted research with colleague Bailey Diers on student reading habits when she was asked to develop a collection of popular titles for Koerner Library. The research showed that UBC residents were craving popular fiction, including bestsellers, pop culture novels and Canadian fiction.

The results flew in the face of popular perceptions regarding young people’s reading habits. For instance, nearly 50 per cent of undergraduates dedicated three hours per week to leisure reading. Further, 97 per cent of respondents preferred reading print books; only 39 per cent expressed an interest in e-readers.

“Looking back, the research was essential to getting Great Reads off the ground and provided the evidence that such a collection had the potential for success,” says Simpson, now the Manager of Content at the Palmerston North City Library and Community Services in New Zealand. “I’m using the experience from working on the Great Reads collection and evidence-based librarianship to find other ways to continue to enrich people’s lives.”

The success of the Great Reads pilot at Koerner led to the project’s expansion – UBC Library users can now browse Great Reads titles at Woodward Library and the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Patrons can expect to see subject-themed reads from each branch (such as science and medicine-related titles from Woodward Library), and the possibility of the Great Reads collection expanding to other library branches.

Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez, Associate University Librarian for Collections, is interested in exploring tailored programming over the coming year, including selections based on campus initiatives, holiday/seasonal themes and notable months (such as Asian Heritage Month, which takes place in May). 

Read more from UBC Library’s Community Report (2013).

The December issue of LibFOCUS focuses on rest and relaxation for the holiday break, offering suggestions for winding down at the end of the year. 12 Days of Reading, Gold Mountain Quest adventure games, music concerts and art are featured.

Enjoy your holiday break with some material from UBC Library.

What better to get you in the mood for reading than a few reviews from UBC Library! Follow our Facebook page for 12 days of reviews – everything from book reviews to digital collections and more. 

We will post one new review every day, beginning Monday, December 3, and continuing to Tuesday, December 18. Featuring reviews from UBC Library staff, alumni and fans, this list will be sure to inspire you to start your holidays with some good reading.

Bookshelf at Woodward Library


UBC Library’s Great Reads program has expanded to include Woodward Library. The leisure-reading program, initially launched at Koerner Library last fall, also has a location at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

The leisure reads include bestsellers, Canadian fiction, and “popular” reading material typically found in a public library. The Woodward location features materials related to the life sciences, with topics such as such as cholera epidemics, Charles Darwin, or new fiction such as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

Readers interested in fiction, bestsellers and humanities and social sciences reading can visit Koerner Library for more book selection. Materials related to art, architecture, science and engineering are located in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

For a virtual bookshelf, Google book reviews, or to suggest new material, visit the Great Reads website

Looking to delve into some tasty literature? Then curl up with our Great Reads Collection, located on the third floor of Koerner Library.

The six-month pilot program features more than 300 books – from bestsellers to Canadiana to popular fiction. This innovative offering provides campus residents, community members, faculty, staff and students easy access to leisure reading materials on UBC’s campus.

Popular reading collections, a staple in public libraries, aren’t as common at their academic counterparts. However, 94 per cent of respondents to a recent survey stated that they might, or definitely would, use a leisure reading collection at UBC.

As a result, UBC Library’s Great Reads Collection was launched, providing community and campus members with a handy location for leisure reading.

An accompanying website features a comment form for feedback. In upcoming months, the website will feature the covers of available books, an RSS feed of new titles and links to book reviews.

Let us know what you think – and happy reading!

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet