Dear Friends of the Library,
Welcome to 2024! If you’re ready to try something new this year, we have a few ideas; we also introduce a board member who has a love of books and book clubs; our Favorite Book is a story with universal appeal; and our interview is with one of the library’s book club facilitators.
Book Clubs: There is One (or Two) for You
By Vicki Urquhart
Would you join a book club where members read only one book? What if the book was James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, and it could take 28 years? One book club is getting widespread attention for doing exactly that. Their story began in a library meeting room in Venice, California, in 1995. Initially, the members read and discussed two pages per month but later slowed to just one page. Now that the group has read and discussed all 628 pages, they will begin again. But, reading one book forever is not for everyone. Before joining a book club that never ends, consider some options.
* Silent Book Club
At a brewery outside of Boston about 50 people come together on Friday evenings to read books of their own choosing and at their own pace for one hour. Those interested in socializing come before or stay after the designated reading hour.
* Not-a-Book-Club Book Club
At the public library in Woodstock, Vermont, members ask each person to share a book they have read. Similarly, members of the “Choose Your Own Book” book club in Melbourne, Australia, say they enjoy not having the pressure of book club “homework” and the freedom to read whatever appeals to them.
* Comics Club
At the Walt Whitman library in Brooklyn, NY, pre-teens (ages 8—12) meet every month to discuss their favorite comic books and learn how to turn their own ideas into comics.
* Online Book Clubs
Some of the most popular online book clubs are associated with celebrities, such as the LeVar Burton Book Club, Fallon Book Club, Oprah’s Book Club, Read with Jenna, and Reese’s Book Club. An online search makes it easy to find one that you think you will enjoy.
* Local In-person Book Clubs
Belonging to a group offers the benefit of face-to-face discussion. Check out our library’s Book Clubs page for some interesting-sounding offerings for ages six through adult, and now offering a Teen Book Club. Or, stop by Windsor’s local bookstore, Words of Windsor, for more choices: Romantic Reads, Where Women Go, and Murder and Mayhem. Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins provides even more options.
* Create Your Own Book Club The idea of having a few people come together to talk about a book sounds simple, but creating a successful book club requires careful planning. One excellent resource is the American Library Association; there, you will find questions to ask yourself and your founding members as you begin, tips for leading discussions, advice on selecting books, and even a list of do’s and don’ts. In addition, the library offers Book Club Kits for patrons to run their own book clubs. Whether you are looking for a book club to join or thinking of creating one, remember that each group will have its own local flavor; some groups enjoy friendly discussion while others prefer debate, and some prefer a slice of pizza on the side, while others want wine. The best way to tell if a book club is right for you is to attend a meeting. Once there, you can gauge your interest and comfort level. Happy hunting!
See more book club ideas at “Twenty Unique Types of Book Clubs.”
Board Member Profile
Fostering a love of public libraries
Beth Jackson, having just booked a Black Friday travel special, explains that traveling is her obsession. She grew up in Florida and Ohio, the family following her father’s work as a minister. Living near Disney World was a lot of fun, she recalls, especially hopping on and off the monorail. Today, Beth and husband Jim are settled in Windsor, and she frequently visits her daughter in London and her son in Washington, D.C.
Beth attended Ohio Northern University, then Miami of Ohio, earning a degree in political science and another in school psychology. Her mother, a school guidance counselor, helped her identify her true interest, and she began applying her knowledge of early childhood development in Ohio schools and later in Windsor schools.
When she retired from Windsor schools after 17 years, she sought out volunteer opportunities. Because of her lifelong interest in literacy, she joined the Loveland Friends of the Library, where she still helps sort books for their annual book sale and is involved in their Loveland Loves to Read guest author event. She also added the Larimer League of Women’s Voters to her volunteer duties, facilitating their Informed Citizen Book Club, and in 2021, Beth joined the Clearview Library’s Friends and Foundation Board of Directors.
Beth’s three-year term hasn’t been easy—the library was dealing with covid restrictions and closures, building renovations, growing community demands, and the construction of a new branch in Severance. Yet, she was well-suited for the task: she is organized, energetic, and a little bossy, she says, and is proud of the way the board stepped up to meet these challenges.
Now that she is coming off the board, Beth will be chairing Clearview Reads, her favorite event. She will be reaching out to library lovers and volunteers to help fundraise and organize it. Beth believes that, “a public library in your town is a gift,” and she envisions the Clearview Library District as a thriving community center that is free to all. Beth’s advice to a future volunteer is to jump in and try it: “Start small, bring your unique skills, and together, we can foster a love of
public libraries,” she says.
What else is in store for Beth? Well, during that Black Friday special she booked a trip to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala; a visit to Korea is coming up; and how can she resist another trip to London to visit their great bookstores?
Beth visits the pyramids during a recent five-day Nile Cruise with her husband.
Jim, Beth, Joe, and Julianna Jackson
Friendsgiving had a great turnout; can you find yourself in one of these photos?
Because our holiday fundraiser, Blind Date with a Book, was so popular, we extended sales into January and sent out a call for more volunteers to drop off books or help wrap them. Thank you to everyone who contributed!
We celebrated World Kindness Day on November 13 with a large sign and an even larger “I” in the middle of “Kind”. Since 1998, people have celebrated the day by focusing on positive actions in their communities and encouraging unity and empathy across all groups of people.
On December 7, members of the Friends and Foundation acknowledged the dedication and contributions of library staff with gift cards for the holidays. The Foundation Board really appreciates our library staff!!
Interview with Rebecca Robbins, CLD Book Club Facilitator
By Jennifer Swanson
How long have you been working at the Clearview Library District (CLD)? How long have you been facilitating the library book clubs?
In September, I celebrated four years with CLD. I have been an Adult Services Assistant for just over a year, which is when I started facilitating book clubs.
Tell us about the CLD's book club program.
Two book clubs we offer are Better Than the Movie and History by the Book, and we will be adding more in 2024. We provide 10 copies each month, but patrons who might have their own copy or have read the book previously are always welcome to join us on discussion day!
Does everyone read the same book? When and where do you meet?
All book club members read the same book together each month, then we meet to discuss and explore the deeper stories behind historical events and past time periods. History by the Book meets at the library the third Thursday of each month at 1:00 p.m.
Which types of books do you look for?
Throughout the year I alternate between historical fiction and nonfiction books. I studied history in college and know that some nonfiction histories can get dry, so I look for books with strong storylines. I read a lot of reviews and do my best to vet sources of information. When it comes to historical fiction, I like to have a little fun and try to find books that mix genres.
How would one go about joining one of the CLD's book clubs?
Sign-ups for books clubs begin the first of the month at 9:00 a.m., and if you have signed up for any other program at the library, the process is the same. Sign-up is only required if you haven't read the book and need a copy. Are there any books that particularly stand out from the CLD's book clubs?
The first book I chose for History by the Book was Maus: A Survivor's Tale, a graphic novel that follows two stories, one about the author and one about the author's dad. No one, including myself, had read a graphic novel, and we all really enjoyed the story. The comic-style of
storytelling offers a different insight to a well-covered historical topic.
Which book has sparked the best discussion?
Some of the best discussions come from not liking a book or a particular detail in it. Ian McEwan’s Atonement delivered one of our best discussions. Polarizing characters along with the author’s storytelling twists provided much to talk about.
What tips would you offer to other book clubs?
My advice is to branch out and choose books beyond your typical reading interests. Some of my most valuable feedback from members is that even though they may not enjoy every book we read, joining the book club has opened doors to different genres and styles that they would not have read on their own. Also, I would tell members that it is okay to not like or even finish a book; books clubs are not school, and this is not for credit, so come to the discussion and share your thoughts.
Did You Know. . .
Greeley’s LINC Library aims to be more experimental than past libraries by providing interactive and educational experiences for its patrons? Some hands-on (and) features of this new 62,000 square foot library include a children’s section with a paper airplane proving ground and a cloud blaster spouting puffs into the air. In addition, maker spaces throughout the building offer patrons dedicated areas for learning weaving, workshop basics, podcasting, and more. This library is a blast—if you haven’t been, it’s worth a trip.
There are even more treasures among the Explore Kit Collection, including a Pickleball Paddle Kit containing rackets and balls and all the necessary equipment to outfit a pickleball court, and an electric guitar with amplifier. Contact the library to reserve it.
Watch for. . .
Tickets for the 2024 Clearview Reads Author Talk. Check out our website soon!
A Favorite Book
By Ruth Brunner
The saying “So many books to read, so little time” came to mind when I was asked to do a book review for this newsletter, so I’ll begin with All My Rage, a young adult book by Sabaa Tahir. Anyone who has faced difficulties in their search for the American Dream, or anyone who knows someone who has struggled to achieve it, will identify with this story.
Author Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert where her Pakistani immigrant family owned an 18-room motel, which became the setting for the story. Salahudin and Noor are childhood friends who encounter many challenges in their relationship and adversity in their lives. Tahir describes their struggles, triumphs, and influences along their journey to adulthood.
All My Rage is available as a book, eBook, and Audiobook at the Clearview Library.
Newsletter design and layout by ToniRae Andres.