Off the Shelf Library News - September 2016

Originally published in the Seaway News Volume 31, Issue 1

Full disclosure: I don’t like to be told what to read – and I work in libraries! To be totally honest, I don’t like being told what to do period (and I know I’m not alone in this!). But it especially applies to books and reading.

There are a lot of books I want to read, only so much time, and there’s a sort of pressure when someone tells you “you have to read this book”. I don’t want to feel obligated in my reading time – obligated to finish or obligated to like the book. So, I’ve always been a little hesitant with the idea of book clubs – it had sounded like a formal process of telling me what to read.

However, I was very surprised to find out that book clubs not only don’t require you to like the book; you don’t even have to finish it! Book clubs are social activities that bring together people of different interests and opinions.

Upon further investigation into book clubs, I’ve found that there are even clubs that don’t require everyone to read the same book – rather, participants can choose their read individually and then meet to discuss whatever it is they read.

Even more creative, there are “graffiti in the margins” book clubs. These clubs encourage (yes, I said encourage) participants to draw or write in the book as they read. Whatever they feel as they read, they can illustrate it. When they’re finished the book, they exchange it with other participants and when the book is returned they have a collection of peoples’ ideas and feelings from the book.

The “rules” around book clubs are much more loose than I realized and it’s just about finding or creating the club that best suits your personality. The SD&G County Library helps to coordinate a number of different books clubs if you’re looking for one to join – speak to our branch staff to find out more information. And don’t forget, SDG Reads (our community-wide book club) is on right now – read the book Tell by Frances Itani and join the conversation!