May 25, 2022

Library to launch Graphic Novel and Booker Book Clubs

Katy Wuerker and Stephen Lajoie hold the books their book clubs will read first at Ipswich Public Library.

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IPSWICH — Adult readers, rejoice! There are two new book clubs to join at Ipswich Library.

“We wanted to increase programming and thought book clubs would be a good way to do that,” said Stephen Lajoie, deputy director of the library.

The library increases adult programming by introducing Booker’s Bookies and a graphic novel book club.

In Booker’s Bookies, the club will read books that have won the Booker Prize. The prize is awarded to an English-language novel published in the UK or Ireland. The first book the club will read is Shuggie baththe 2020 winner.

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“It’s about addiction and growing up in a Scottish working-class neighborhood, so it’s very heavy,” said Lajoie, who also organizes the book club. He added that the Booker Award is given to books that are considered the best in literature for their year of entry. “It’s interesting to talk about a lot of Booker Prize winners.”

Lajoie said he wanted to discuss serious literature with other book lovers.

“I missed discussing novels on a serious level,” Lajoie said. “We just stop doing it after high school and college, and it’s sad.”

Currently, half of the dozen slots are filled for the club. Lajoie said he’s thrilled to be able to share his love of literature with the city.

“I’ve only been working here for almost two months, but I already feel like Ipswich is a very literary town,” Lajoie said. “So I thought it would be a good fit here.”

The second book club will be led by reference librarian and teen Katy Wuerker, a longtime lover of graphic novels. She is happy to discuss some of her favorites with the community.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” Wuerker said. “I was like, ‘I just want to try something different. Something not traditional but still well loved. And that’s the graphic novel.

The graphic novel group is intended for adults 18 and older, Wuerker said. Currently, one person has signed up for the program, but Wuerker said she expects people to drop by informally.

The first graphic novel on the list is watchmenwhich Wuerker says is one of the most iconic graphic novels.

“When this came out it was ‘hey, not everything is glamorous in comic books,'” Wuerker said. “[Watchmen] has meat and a belly. It’s the most well-known graphic novel, and it’s a great place to start.

While the first graphic novel has superheroes, Wuerker said there won’t be too many in the book club. She said that many graphic novel writers have started using this medium to tell all forms of stories with visual components.

“There’s something to telling your stories through images,” Wuerker said. “It’s expressing fully what you need to express.”

The two clubs are just the start of adult programming at the Ipswich Library. In addition to the two book clubs, Lajoie said he plans to add programs focused on environmental awareness, art therapy and nature walks.

“We’re trying to revitalize adult programs,” Lajoie said. “I really try to have cultural programming and educational programming.”

Booker’s bookmakers will meet for the first time on February 16 and the graphic novel book club on February 14.