Fun, popular, and recreational reading UMN Libraries guide

Why read fun books?

Reading for pleasure during college is important for a variety of reasons. Benefits of reading include:

  • reduces stress
  • improves vocabulary
  • encourages critical thinking
  • reading before bed can improve sleep
  • improved performance (e.g. scores, grades, etc.) across many subjects from English to Math to Science to History, etc.  
  • increases empathy

Read more about reading for pleasure at The Impact of Pleasure Reading on Academic Success (PDF).

Overdrive and Libby app

Libby logoOverdrive and the Libby app are new ways to read ebooks, listen to audiobooks and more. These tools are common in public libraries but they are new to the UMN Libraries. We have a growing collection with an early focus with titles from our Libraries Racial Equity Fund. 

Reading Challenges

Summer Reading-opoly!

Don’t get "board" with your summer reads! Score a reading-opoly by completing the tasks in a property set, (indicated by color or symbol), or by completing each task in a Challenge, or 2 out of 4 Activities. (Maximum 18 entries per person).

Submission Form -

You may not use the same book more than once. Record your completed sets before September 10th to be entered in a prize drawing.

Need help deciding what to read? Roll the dice and let the Libraries Book Matchmakers provide personalized recommendations. The physical game board can be viewed and/or downloaded here.

Questions? Comments? Contact us at

Browse popular reading collections in Wilson, Walter, and Magrath Libraries

Stop by our popular reading collections in Wilson, Walter and Magrath Library. Your Ucard is your library card. Use it to check out books and other materials. 


Wilson Library is the home of the Robert and Virginia McCollister Collection for Contemporary Literature on the 1st Floor of Wilson Library. Fun reading books.


Walter Library has a collection of popular reading on the 2nd floor.




Magrath Library has a collection on the ground floor, near the service desk. 




Request item

If you don't want to go to a library to check it out, you can use our "Get it" service to have a book sent to a library close to you (or your home). The item will be moved to another campus library in 2-4 days and mailed to a house/office in 5-7+ days. 

Step 1: Find item

Step 2: Select the Library you want to pick the item up at or "home" delivery (faculty/staff/instructors can request "office" delivery)

Goldy's Little Free Libraries

West Bank Little Free Library near Rarig CenterTake a book, leave a book!

Goldy’s Little Free Libraries are now available for U of M community members to enjoy across the Twin Cities campus. Stop by to see what gems you can find and share your favorites with others.

Find Goldy's Little Free Libraries:

East Bank - Near 4th St. ramp
West Bank - Near Rarig Center
St. Paul - Near the Student Center


Need recommendations? Try UMN Libraries Book Matchmakers

Having trouble finding a book you really love? Looking for something fun or different in your reading life? Fill out a short form about your reading life and our expert book matchmakers will email you a list of three books from the University of Minnesota libraries that match what you are looking for.

Ebooks Minnesota

Ebooks Minnesota is an online ebook collection for all Minnesotans. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction, for readers of all ages, and includes over 10,000 titles! 

Public libraries

UMN students can sign up for a library card from Hennepin County Library (Minneapolis campus) or Ramsey County Library (St. Paul campus) or other public libraries. This gives students access to free ebook/music/magazine downloads (and a lot more). 

Arvonne Fraser Library in Dinkytown

Arvone Fraser Library"Arvonne Fraser Library (previously known as Southeast Library) sits on the east bank of the University of Minnesota and serves residents of the University community. The building was designed by master architect Ralph Rapson and originally functioned as a credit union for university and state employees. It opened as a library in 1967."

Read online newspapers and magazines (no paywalls!)

New York Times front page

Popular newspapers guide

Consult our guide to find newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and other news sources available from the Libraries like the New York Times, Wall Street Journals, etc. 


Guide for reading magazines, current news, commentary, and opinion

Consult our guide of current journals and magazines of news, commentary, and opinion. Here is a sample of what is sometimes called 'Long form journalism" -- longer, in-depth articles written by journalists but usually about or with experts like researchers or professors. They are written with less jargon then scholarly journal articles and are great sources to consult as you learn more about a topic. They feature stories about current or controversial topics. You can "browse" and read current issues or search. Examples include the Atlantic, the Economist, National Geographic and more. 

Last Updated: Jul 17, 2023 12:02 PM