While many people find themselves reading daily for work or school, it can often be difficult to find time strictly for recreational reading. From improving cognitive function to promoting empathy within students, leisure reading has many benefits that might prompt someone to add a little extra reading time into their daily schedule.

Despite some of these benefits, leisure reading has been on the decline for years. The World Economic Forum found that the time an average American spends reading declined from 23 minutes per day in 2004 to just 16 minutes in 2019. Gallup News noted that factors causing this decline could include things like a lack of time for and interest in books or other lifestyle disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In other research, a professor of informatics found that attention spans have continued to shrink over the years which some believe directly correlates to the national decline in reading. Studies over the years have found that the average amount of focus time decreased from two-and-half minutes in 2004 to 75 seconds in 2012. They also noted that more recent studies indicate even further decreases in attention spans.

Although it may be more difficult to remain focused for extended periods of reading time, leisure reading  can be a great way to improve focus, attention span, concentration and memory. In scientific terms, under the right conditions, reading can enlarge neural networks and increase neural connections which can benefit one’s general health and well-being in various ways. Improving focus and attention span can not only be a great way to improve in your professional career, but in your personal life as well.

While some might already be aware of the benefits of leisure reading, incorporating reading into your daily schedule and holding yourself accountable can be challenging in practice. Dr. Kaminskas suggests setting aside time daily and starting small. Beginning with just a few pages everyday can be a helpful way to ease yourself into a new reading habit and slowly begin improving things like concentration. Additionally, he encourages readers to explore a variety of topics and authors to help broaden horizons and learn new perspectives.

For people constantly traveling or trying to find a few minutes between meetings to engage in some leisure reading, digital resources are a great fit. Unlike paperbacks or newspapers which can be difficult to lug around, your tablet is something easy to transport and pull out quickly for a few minutes of downtime.

Digital resources such as EBSCO eBooks and Flipster digital magazines offer top-notch content that libraries can promote alongside the benefits of leisure reading.

For people constantly traveling or trying to find a few minutes between meetings to engage in some leisure reading, digital resources are a great fit.

Naturally promoting e-books as a leisure reading option makes sense but depending on the reader, they may need to start small when it comes to committing to read an entire book. Graphic novels are great options to engage hesitant juvenile and adult readers. EBSCO eBooks offers many curated collections that can be quickly added to any existing digital collection. Here are some options to consider:

For seasoned e-book readers, there are dozens of options and with EBSCO eBooks’ new and updated collections, libraries can save time researching popular titles and add e-books that have been hand-selected by EBSCO librarians. Here are popular collections to promote leisure reading:

Digital magazines are unique because the articles are shorter with large and colorful images which can be less intimidating to readers who have shorter attention spans. Flipster digital magazines are a great resource to help patrons ease into a leisure reading routine. Flipster has something for everyone, and magazines can be easily and quickly accessed from virtually anywhere using the Flipster app.

Here are 10 popular magazines patrons would enjoy:

Browse other magazine categories your patrons will love such as Home & Garden, Lifestyle, Food & Cooking and more.

Flipster magazines are not only great for leisurely reading, but they’re also great for inspiration and education on a number of activities, sports, crafts and niche interests. Check out this recent blog post to learn more about hobby-related magazines and their benefits.

Browse more than 3 million EBSCO eBooks and more than 1,200 digital magazines using EBSCOhost Collection Manager (ECM.)