Mistakes Were Made: Strict Curricular Focus and Student Retention in Academic Libraries

Lindsey M. Reno


In a world where libraries are searching for ways to justify their very existence, this article provides an argument toward one such justification.  The author asserts that, by providing leisure materials to students, the academic library can help to improve rates of student success, thereby bolstering retention.  Leisure reading has been shown to reduce stress, which is one of the many causes linked to students dropping out of school.  It is also more likely that students will read this type of material if they are within close proximity of a leisure reading collection.  Library use is linked with student success and it is possible that leisure reading could draw students to the library and make them feel more comfortable using it. Reading itself is also linked with academic success. This paper examines the cyclical relationship between leisure reading and student retention and argues that such reading materials should be part of a collection that provides holistic support to students and not merely curricular support. 


leisure reading; recreational reading; academic libraries; student retention; literacy

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