If you have a reader who is at least 12 years old who might like to join, drop by the library before school starts to get on the list. It’s always a fun session, and our first meeting takes place on Wednesday, September 27, from 4-5:30pm.
It all started with Emma Watson. She started leaving books from her feminist book club on the London Underground subway system for people to take home. A free book prompts discussion, and the actress thought it would be an interesting way to find a broader audience for her book club.
Now, Montreal has its own book fairy in Audree Archambault. She’s been leaving books in Montreal Metro stations in hopes that they’ll read the books, and then pay it forward by leaving the books for someone else. Archambault is a YouTuber and books lover, and for International Women’s Day this year, she received a box of books from publishers, each containing a book with a hand-written note from Emma Watson herself, to distribute for her project.
Each book that Archambault leaves contains a sticker explaining why it was left there and instructions on how to pass it on. You might even find her peering around a corner to see who takes her books–and it’s often a struggle for people to take something with them for free, even with the note.
You can read more about the project by clicking on the link here.
I’m sure most library users would appreciate finding a book that they could take home, regardless of where it was left. Would you participate?
The concept of one community reading the same book and then talking about it has been around for quite some time. In fact, Lanark County libraries have taken part in the One Book, One Community initiative a few years in a row. Each library bought multiple copies of the same book, based on the theme for that year, and community members read, took part in book talks, author discussions, and fun activities. While it was super popular in some libraries, it didn’t do well in others. The reasons? We really have no idea.
Advertising can be part of the issue, and how community members get their news. Some populations might be more inclined to read everything in their local paper, while others rely on Facebook and other social media outlets. But it also depends on the age of the population that is likely to participate in library events such as this. It’s possible that some communities had a younger population attending adult library events, and maybe they weren’t ones who had a lot of time to participate in several events based on one book. Maybe in other communities, an older popular had more time, or loved book clubs. It’s difficult to say, but often, it comes down to people knowing about the program.
New York City recently tried a venture that stemmed from the Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment, and the popular website BuzzFeed. They called it “One Book, One New York”. Essentially, it was what libraries have been doing for decades. They advertised it as the largest book club in history.
Ironically, they tried to launch the same type of initiative two years earlier, but no one could agree on what book to read, so it was scrapped. This time, they allowed New Yorkers to vote on five selections, and they decided on AMERICANAH by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi.
So, did it work this time? Each burrough of New York City reported back with their results—how they advertised, what events they offered, and what they thought about the program. You can read the entire article here.
Overall, it was difficult to measure the success, because it depended upon the area and who you asked. Some places in NYC found it difficult to advertise and get the book to people because they didn’t have any small, local bookstores there anymore. Other places couldn’t keep the book on their shelves. Some people saw ads for the program, but didn’t make it to any events, and felt a little out of the loop, while others read the book with co-workers and were able to have their own discussions.
This sounds typical of community book clubs in general. You can’t have programs that will accommodate everyone all the time. All you can do is try. And try again. And try a third time. And if it still doesn’t fly, move on to a new program.
Libraries are natural places for book clubs. We have two that are held here within our building, and we get books for several more clubs that hold their meetings in living rooms. The act of reading a book and discussing it is such an enjoyable thing. If you think it’s similar to those high school English class discussions, think again. (Plus, a lot of clubs have snacks involved, so it’s even better.)
But book clubs can come with some down sides, too. Some are quite strict about everyone reading the book before coming to the meetings. And others have a dedicated “chair” who will control the meeting, right down to discussion questions, rather than letting the discourse flow naturally. This can be a bit of a turn-off for some, and often, they’ll look elsewhere for another club.
What about starting your own club? How many people does it have to have? As it turns out, there are no real rules on this. Usually an active book club thrives from having a nice round number of people (10-15), as not everyone can make it each time. It’s also nice to have a wide variety of ages involved, but that will depend on the members themselves.
This is where Amy Cserni and Sara Haddow’s book club is really interesting. The pair met almost thirty-five years ago in high school, and started the unusual routine of reading books out loud to each other. They continued to do this for many years, getting together to read everything from classics to popular fiction. But when Cserni moved across the province, the book club for two was not to be dissolved. Instead of getting together to read out loud, the pair began reading to each other over the phone. Isn’t that a great idea? You can hear a fabulous documentary called “Telephone Books” by Alisa Siegel, by clicking on this link.
Now nothing can stop you from starting up your own book club!
It’s here…the first fall meeting of the Nerd Herd Teen Book Club. We can’t wait to hear what our herd thought about READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline! And next, we’re reading SCHOOLED by Gordon Korman. It’s going to be a great fall season!
If you know of someone who might be interested in joining our herd, they must be at least 12 years old. Give us a call for more information, or drop by the library to pick up our October read.
——Head Nerd Herder out…..
Once again, we’re giving our young friends who are doing the TD Summer Reading Club with us this summer, a chance to take home a friend for a week and have some WILD adventures. They enjoyed traveling with Miss Squeaky one year, and last summer, kids made friends with Yalp, our wacky bird friend. This summer, we’re glad to introduce Thidwick!
Thidwick is a wacky little moose who loves long walks in the woods, raspberry jam on toast, and crossword puzzles! He’ll be visiting schools to be introduced before the official summer kick off on Thursday, June 30th from 1-3pm at our Library Lemonade Stand.
If you have a young reader, I’m sure they’ll have a chance to take Thidwick home for a week. Take him to the beach, on a long distance trip, or just to the grocery store….he’ll be happy hanging out with new friends no matter where he is. But you’ll have to wait until July 4th….that’s when he’ll be dropping by the library for his summer adventures.
Our teens will be dropping great YA books around town today. You might find one outside of a store, on a park bench, or in a parking lot. They’ll have special “FREE BOOK” bookmarks sticking out of the top, so keep an eye out. Find a book, read it, or pass it on to someone you know who might like it. The books are meant to be kept…not returned to the library…and shared.
We’re Rocking the Drop!