November 25, 2022

Indulgence on the Shelf: Vail Valley Book Clubs Empower Readers to Broaden Their Perspectives

You can browse what local book clubs are reading at The Bookworm of Edwards.
Nate Peterson/[email protected]

Reading can stimulate the imagination, open perception and stimulate conversation, especially in book clubs.

Book clubs help create a sense of community while broadening participants’ worldview. Since the pandemic, book clubs have come together on Zoom, allowing second home owners and other friends and families who don’t live in Eagle County year-round to join from the pandemic. outside the state. For example, the Books ‘n’ Bites club at the Vail Public Library has about 23 members – about 10 regulars – from as far away as Kentucky, California, and North Dakota.

“It gives people a sense of community,” said Lori Barnes of the Vail Public Library.

Eagle Valley College and Teen Book Clubs began meeting outdoors a few months ago to provide more in-person interactions for children, and librarians plan to make the transition from adult clubs to outdoors in June, in a socially distanced way. They are also considering starting a district-wide virtual book club, as the Zoom meetings have drawn so many adults from out of state.

For those who don’t prefer to sit and talk, the Vail Public Library offers a walking book club in the summer, where people walk and talk about a specific book every second Friday of the month. In the winter, they meet at the top of Vail Mountain to ski, snowboard and talk about the book on gondola rides.

Broaden perspectives

In addition to a love for reading and a desire for community, people join book clubs to broaden their perspectives and knowledge.

“The library book club, compared to private book clubs, is an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones,” said Gwen Scalpello, member of the public library book club of Vail. “The diversity of the group allows you to broaden your perspective on the book by listening to the different opinions and perspectives on the book and its discussion questions – not to mention that I am having a wonderful time with a group of smart women who are just downright nice. to be with. “

According to the Eagle Valley Library District Book Club Survey, readers enjoy being exposed to different genres and topics. Sometimes clubs invite outside experts to speak; When Books ‘n’ Bites from the Vail Public Library read Robert Kurson’s “Shadow Divers”, Beaver Divers came to share their underwater adventures.

“People say they’ve read a lot of books they wouldn’t have read,” said Amy Gornikiewicz, collection development manager and reader advisor librarian at Avon. “Most books that lend themselves well to book clubs have some sort of problem that people end up learning from the book or from the experiences and opinions of others.”

Librarians try to balance lighter books with deeper social issues and award-winning titles that will appeal to a variety of readers, she said.

“It takes people out of their comfort zone,” Barnes said.

And, for kids, book clubs improve reading skills in a setting outside of the classroom. They also allow middle and high school students to share their opinions.

“They can be honest about it – what worked, what they didn’t like,” said Nick Dawson, Teen Services Librarian at Eagle.

A book, a valley

In addition to book clubs, the annual One Book community program, One Valley invites all residents to read the same book at the same time. The program encourages literacy and brings residents together for a six to eight week series of stimulating events related to a specific book. This year’s book is “Lab Girl,” a memoir focusing on the outdoors, sustainability, and an author with bipolar disorder.

“It resonated with men, women and people of all ages,” Barnes said.

Whether it’s a one-time engagement through One Book, One Valley, or a monthly book club, socializing with other people who love to read can be very rewarding.

“There is nothing quite like getting together and discussing a book,” Gornikiewicz said. “We end up bringing so many different experiences and being exposed to so much.”