In summer 2014 the University Library created a Popular Reading collection of both fiction and non-fiction (e.g., hiking guides for local trails) titles to engage our Santa Clara community. This was in response to requests for easier access to leisure reading choices, coupled with our own desire to encourage our students' life-long reading habits.
Our collection started with books already in the library but which are now much easier to browse in their new location near the front entrance to the building. We have added another 500 popular books based on bestseller lists, book club lists, patron suggestions, and other usage data.
In our first 15 months, we are consistently seeing 125-160 items checked out at any given time (about 20% of the collection). Both non-fiction and fiction titles are circulating well, and we have been successful in reaching all demographics in our campus community (faculty, staff, students) with just over half of the transactions being to students. In the words of one faculty member, "it is exactly what many patrons want: an eclectic, curated selection of good books to read for leisure reading and chance discovery."
The library is still building awareness of the Popular Reading collection. This summer we featured Facebook and Instagram posts focusing on themes within the collection (women in leadership; books about food; books adapted into films). We are also creating bookmarks with reading lists from book clubs for people who may have a goal of reading 12 good books per year.
As you may know, Santa Clara alumni may check out materials (including the Pop collection!) in person using a library card from a local public library - or may request a courtesy SCU library card for free by visiting the library.
Associate University Librarian for Resources & Digital Services