For many college students reading is a chore, but for some it is a method of escapism and self-discovery. Students at Keene State College have direct access to a diverse selection of literature here on campus.

According to the Keene State website, the Mason Library holds approximately 230,000 books in its main collection alone. On top of the main collection, the library is also home to 11,000 juvenile books, 6,000 printed volumes in the archives and special collections and 400 audiobooks.

These numbers do not even account for the curriculum materials and periodicals the library offers as well. Among this large number of texts lies thousands of works of literature.  Professor in the English Department, Dr. Jan Youga, speaks on the value of literature.

When asked what literature can do for a person’s life, Youga responded, “As you get to know characters you learn a lot more about human beings, as opposed to just the ones you get the chance to meet and interact with during your lifetime.”

Sarah Morrison/ Equinox Staff

Sarah Morrison/ Equinox Staff

Youga said  that literature allows readers to become more empathetic by learning about people’s thoughts, feelings and inner worlds through the characters created in books.   College is a time when literature is endlessly available.

Studies done throughout the years prove that this is beneficial for many, because college aged students actually like reading during their free time.

According to a survey taken by the librarians of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, 93 percent of the 717 students surveyed claimed to enjoy reading for pleasure.

However, the study also gathered that college students struggle to find the time to read because of having too much work in other classes. Additionally, many students admitted that they would rather socialize than read, and some simply do not find reading interesting.

Here at KSC, students fall on both ends of the spectrum. As a Secondary Education and Literature major, senior Kara Gilson finds herself putting a lot of hours into reading for both her classes and pleasure.

Gilson said she goes to the Mason Library for the books she reads on her downtime and for the books required in her literature courses.

When asked why she chose to pursue a career in teaching literature, Gilson said, “Because it’s (literature) something that everyone can connect to if they really try. It can bring people from different lives and cultures together.” Not all KSC students seem to receive the same benefits from reading literature as Gilson. Senior and Safety major Sarah Jones said that she seldom reads novels, “I prefer going out and experiencing the world for myself, as opposed to reading about it in books,” Jones said. Jones continued that she learns about different cultures and parts of the world through traveling. So far Jones has been to nine different countries, and said she has plans to do more traveling after she graduates in the spring.

While at KSC, students have access to all different forms of learning more about the world and people’s different perspectives, whether it be from traveling, joining clubs, playing sports, pursuing their careers or reading literature.

However, for those who love getting lost in the world of books, the Mason Library is a great place to start. As Jan Youga concluded her thoughts on literature, “It’s beautiful, and anytime we can bring more beauty into our lives, that’s a very valuable thing.”

Amy Donovan can be contacted at

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