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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Book Discussion Groups

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, June 21, 2015

For as long as public libraries have existed, Book Discussion Groups have met to share their thoughts on books.


Sometimes called Book Clubs, these informal groups of readers gather to share their reaction to a particular book, and enjoy the discussion.


Our library system has sponsored Book Discussion Groups from the founding of the library in 1902, and seemed to reach a climax in the 1950s with the “Great Books” programs sponsored by the Encyclopaedia Britannica Company.


The following 40 years saw these groups fade away as people became too busy, but I am pleased to report that Book Discussion Groups are back and operating in all our library locations.


Our Tiltonsville Branch has 3 groups.  The Morning Book Club meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month in the morning and has been meeting for 14 years.  The have read and are discussing “Secrets Over Sweet Tea” in conjunction with a tea party.


The Thriller Book Club meets the last Tuesday of each month in the evening and has discussed books by Stephen King, James Patterson and Lisa Gardner.


The Cookbook Club meets the 3rd Thursday in the evening and discusses a different cookbook, and sometimes includes demonstrations.


Our Brilliant Branch Library Book Club meets the last Monday of each month in the evening and feels that have the best discussions when not everyone likes the book!  They just finished “Goodnight June” and had a pizza party.


Our Adena Branch Library Book Club meets the 3rd Monday of the month and loves to share comments about the selected book of the month.


Our Dillonvale-Mount Pleasant Branch Book Club meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month in the morning.  Their lists of books are developed once-a-year and there are 15 participants.


Like the other clubs, snacks and treats, as well as an annual party or tea is part of the book club.


They have enjoyed books by Debbie Macomber, Nicholas Sparks, Phil Robertson, Leigh Brill, Barbara Delinsky, and David Baldacci to name a few.


Our Toronto Branch Book Club meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month in the morning.  They try to switch out the genre each month, and they “love to read books that they might not otherwise select from the library shelves.


They prefer historical fiction, but have read every type of book from young adult to nonfiction and biographies.


The branch librarian prepares a flyer with 10-15 questions regarding the month’s title to spark discussion using the author’s website as a resource.


To date, they have read books by Liane Moriarity, Allison Pataki, Linda Castillo, Jess Walter, Mary Alice Monroe, and Susan Harrison.


I will tell you another time about the clubs at the Main Library and Schiappa Branch.


We all pick up books (both traditional formats and eBooks) and quietly read them, becoming buried in the characters and the plot.


It is quite different to sit and engage in conversation about the book.  You discover that other people have different thoughts and ideas about the book.  Some love a title, others dislike the title.


The interaction is the delight in a book club, or any time you share your thoughts on anything you read or learn about.


All the book club participants say that they learn so much from others, including great new authors and titles of books to read.