Purpose – 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. Design/methodology/approach – The paper takes the form of a critical review of literature and real‐life examples. Findings – 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. Originality/value – 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.
Library Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 11, 2011
Keywords: Public libraries; Library users; Information services; Leisure reading; Escapism; Readers' advisory