Editorial: Leisure reading is good reading

For many students, the Tisch Library is a symbol of unrelenting work. It represents hours spent studying for midterms, working on group projects and typing dreaded final essays.

Recently, Tisch Library created the Leisure Reading Collection, a set of books for students to read in their downtime. Students should take advantage of this new addition to the library and use the collection as an opportunity to find new perspectives on issues, discover a new literary genre and rediscover their love of reading.

During the school year, students often don’t touch books unrelated to coursework — textbooks replace autobiographies and novels. In the process, we often neglect other areas of interest. Leisure reading provides students with the opportunity to explore areas that they are passionate about while offering flexibility regarding reading pace. The personal struggles and obstacles authors and novelists face can help students connect with social issues in a more empathetic way.

Martha Kelehan, assistant director of research & learning at Tisch Library, and Dorothy Meaney, the Tisch Library director, started the Leisure Reading Collection after a library survey revealed that students would like to see more books that they could read during their downtime. Split between the Tower Cafe and the hallway outside of the Reading Room, the collection has partnered with Porter Square Books, a local independent bookstore, to get a variety of books to fill the collection. Porter Square Books was asked to suggest titles for the section, as they might know what Tufts students would like to see in the library, according to Kelehan. The collection features books from a variety of genres, including the memoir “Yes, Please” by comedian Amy Poehler, a narrative composed of shorter stories, “Olive Kitteridge” and new books of political criticism like “The Chapo Guide to Revolution,” by hosts of Chapo Trap House, a popular socialist podcast.

The new collection, in addition to providing students with an opportunity to broaden their reading horizons, can change students’ relationship with the library and transform the role it plays in their lives. While libraries are more commonly used as a space to study and complete projects, the Leisure Reading Collection gives students a chance to use the library for more personal reasons.

Students should make sure to stop by the Leisure Reading Collection the next time they’re waiting for a friend in Tisch. Students can also recommend a purchase if they think of something that should be added to the shelf. By picking up a book that catches their eye, students might be able to reconnect with the joy of reading.