A Qualitative Study of Fiction Discovery & Public Libraries

  • Joanna Ruth Geering

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science


The purpose of this study is to explore the ways in which readers discover fiction which is new to them, and to investigate the current and potential role of public libraries in this. In-depth information was gathered through qualitative interviews with sixteen participants. Findings showed that avid readers tend to keep lists of interesting books and have no problems in getting ideas or finding a good read. They do not tend to feel that the library plays a significant role in helping them to make discoveries, but may in fact be unconscious of the library tools they do use. The topic would benefit from future research that focuses on people who read less, as they are likely to experience more problems, and to welcome more intervention, when choosing a new book. The conclusions are that libraries do have a role to play in helping readers to discover fiction; currently widely-used tools such as displays and reading groups are very useful to readers. Libraries should bear in mind that they form one part of readers’ holistic worlds, where there are multiple sources of book inspiration, many of which are found outside the library. Several recommendations for public libraries are made, including fostering communities where readers can review, recommend, and share books; ensuring that stock and displays reflect influences from readers’ lives; and being aware of and catering for all kinds of readers.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorAllen Foster (Supervisor)

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