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Readers' advisory and underestimated roles of escapist reading

Soheli Begum (Toronto Public Library, Toronto, Canada)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 11 October 2011




The purpose of this paper, aimed primarily at readers' advisors in public libraries, is to take a critical look at the concept of escapism in leisure reading, highlight the multiple aspects of escapism, present it in a more positive light, and show that escapism is associated not only with light entertaining reading but also with the reading of serious literature.


The paper takes the form of a critical review of literature and real‐life examples.


It is found that escapism in leisure reading is a very complex and composite concept. Although it is not always associated with pleasure and relaxation, it is always a transformative and thus instrumental and functional experience in the reader's life.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a valuable discussion of the literature on escapist reading.

Practical implications

The paper considers the importance of escapist reading and whether would this be of benefit to library professionals involved in the public library sphere.


Multiple and diversified examples of escapism through leisure reading are reviewed and critically analyzed; and the application of this knowledge in readers' advisory work is clearly delineated.



Begum, S. (2011), "Readers' advisory and underestimated roles of escapist reading", Library Review, Vol. 60 No. 9, pp. 738-747.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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