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  September 4, 2001

New Collection in Babbidge Library
Encourages Reading for Pleasure

Murderers, spies, sweethearts, aliens, and a small bespectacled youth. All have recently arrived in Homer Babbidge Library, as part of the newest collection being offered to the University community.

Just opened, the Leisure Reading Collection provides a much needed and often requested service.

Without a public library within easy walking distance of the Storrs campus, borrowing some light reading has been a challenge for many students. In the past, librarians on the reference desk were often asked by students to help them find "something light and fun to read," or to tell them "where the fiction is." Until recently, there was no simple answer to these simple requests.

Now, on Level B, below the Plaza level, the new Laura and Walter Broughton Leisure Reading Room houses a browsing collection of current New York Times bestsellers and standards in popular reading.

Totaling about 600 titles, the books are shelved by author's last name or short Dewey Decimal number. You don't even need to use HOMER, the electronic catalog, to find them, although the collection will be listed there.

The collection's contents reflect authors, titles, and genres requested by students in a survey conducted in May. Several hundred responses were received, both in paper and online.

The books most commonly requested by students were the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, also popular at campuses across the country. Babbidge Library now has two copies of each title in the series.

The survey revealed a broad range of reading interests. Other top fiction requests were for romances, thrillers, mysteries, and science fiction. Students also suggested books by international authors, and some on contemporary issues in society.

Although the collection responds to a need expressed largely by students, librarians expect it will appeal equally to faculty and staff.

To keep the collection moving, there is a two-week loan period with no renewals. Just read it, return it, and pick up another. On your return, you'll probably find titles you didn't see on your last visit.

New books will be received weekly, supported by a bequest from the estate of Abbey Jean Quick, for whom the collection is named. Quick graduated from the Connecticut Agricultural College in Storrs in 1932. She made the bequest in memory of Elsie Gray Marsh, a reference librarian at the college from 1928 to 1949.

Donations made to the David Garnes Honor with Book Fund are also being used to maintain the collection. Garnes was a reference librarian who retired earlier this year after 20 years at UConn.

To find out the newest titles in the collection, check the top five titles on each week's New York Times bestseller list or visit the website.

Suggestions for additional titles, or improvements to the service, are welcome. Comments on the collection may be sent from the website.

Kathy Labadorf

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