by Tiffani Stewart
St. Charles City-County Library
If you stop by the Boone’s Trail Branch on the second Monday evening of any month, you’ll find a group sitting in a circle. They are there to discuss a book that they have all read, but they are also there to catch up with friends. They are there to discuss different ideas and opinions. They are there to learn. They are there to laugh.
The Fiction Fans book discussion group at the Boone’s Trail Branch is not the only book club at a St. Charles City-County Library. In fact, it’s not the only group meeting at the Boone’s Trail Branch! With over 20 groups for adults meeting at almost every Library branch in the county, there’s probably a group for you. But why should you be a part of one? Consider these five reasons for joining other readers to regularly discuss books:
- Add spice to your book diet. When you join a book discussion group, you’re likely to read books that you wouldn’t typically read. And sometimes, a book that you wouldn’t typically read can turn out to be one that you didn’t know you needed. Variety is the spice of life.
- Meet like-minded readers. Cookbooks. Mysteries. Young adult books. Graphic novels. There are groups at the library reading each of these genres and many groups that read a little bit of everything. If you love to read, and you’re always looking for book recommendations, other readers can help. Join a book discussion group to discover new titles and authors that you may enjoy. One member of the Deer Run group explains, “I had just moved to the area and wanted to meet some neighbors. Not only was I introduced to new people in the group, I was introduced to new authors at the Library!”
- Discover a different perspective. Reading broadens your horizons. When you read a book set in another country, featuring a character living a different life, exploring a conflict that you’ve never experienced, you may change your real-life perspective. Then hear from others in your group (with all of their experiences and opinions) and you’ll not just step outside of your comfort zone, you’ll take a flying leap. As one book discussion group member at the Library Express at Winghaven Branch said, “You tend to get in a rut as you age. Hearing others’ opinions keeps you open-minded and teaches you how to disagree. It’s not just a book club, it’s a critical thinking seminar.”
- Set aside reading time to meet a deadline. Book clubs meet regularly on a set date. This forces readers to set aside time to get the book finished. If you have reading goals, or you don’t often give yourself permission to do something just for you, a book club can provide the deadline you need to make reading a priority.
- Make fast friends. Most of us have friends and acquaintances at work or at church, but how well do we really know them? A book discussion group is a way to quickly develop authentic relationships. While it may take years for you to be comfortable enough with friends to discover how they feel about a hot-button issue, you’ll find out how members of your book club feel about various topics each time you read a related book. Every month, a new title provides an opportunity to discover what your fellow readers think about politics, race relations, self-rising flour, World War II...you name it. You truly get to know each other when your bonds are formed around book topics.
Convinced? Visit myLibrary.org/book-discussion-groups to browse the many groups meeting in Library branches across St. Charles County. You’ll find meeting times and locations along with the books that each group has selected for 2021. Jump in by registering to attend the next gathering. (While most groups are still meeting virtually, some select groups are getting together outdoors in person. Details are provided on the registration pages.) If you don’t connect with the first group you try, don’t give up. Try another. It may take time to find just the right group for you.
Don’t leave the kids out! You can find “Club Read” book discussion groups for young readers in grades 4-8 at the Library. Visit myLibrary.org/eCalendar for upcoming meetings at several branch locations.
Maybe you have plenty of friends who love to read. Gather them together and start your own book discussion group. The Library makes it easy with "Book Club To Go" kits. These book discussion kits each contain 10 copies of a title and a discussion guide and can be checked out for 10 weeks. Choose fiction or nonfiction for adults, teens, and kids. With over 700 available titles, you’re sure to find something for everyone.
Whether you meet other book lovers at the Library, or you put together your own book club, we recommend a book discussion group for anyone who loves to read. You’ll discover that talking about reading is almost as nice as the reading itself. Have questions? Need help finding the right group for you? Call or stop by any Library branch and ask. Soon you may be like the group member at the Middendorf-Kredell Branch who once confided, “I’ve changed my vacation so I didn’t miss book club.”
All Library facilities are open to the public and offer curbside/drive-up services. Room reservations, passport services, and in-person classes & events are temporarily cancelled, but virtual programming is happening now. Get the details here: myLibrary.org/covid-19