May 25, 2022

Surprise! Book clubs at your library

Yes, public libraries host book clubs and there are so many reasons to join:

  1. Joining a book club encourages the actual reading of a book and guess what? Reading is good for your brain!
  2. Joining a book club provides the opportunity to read books that you wouldn’t normally touch.
  3. Reading books you don’t normally read provides an opportunity to learn about a different perspective, which may be very different from your own.
  4. Book clubs are sociable and provide an opportunity for discussion.
  5. Books are a good way to reflect on our society.
  6. Some books just need to be discussed!

Page Turners, the Petoskey District Library Book Club, meets at 5:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. They read a Michigan Notable book for the March 15 meeting: Tin Camp Road, by Ellen Airgood. Library Assistant Jane Mooradian leads Page Turners and participants help choose books for each upcoming term. Visit the Petoskey Library website to register.

The Charlevoix Public Library offers two book clubs: BookTalkers and Biers & Books. BookTalkers meet year-round at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. Beth Strawbridge, librarian, selects predominantly fiction books. They are reading Infinite Country, by Patricia Engel, for their next meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, February 21. The number of participants is limited. visit their website to register soon.

Biers & Books meets at Brasserie Bier’s Inwood at 17959 Ferry Road, Charlevoix. This is a book club reserved for the cold season, from November to April, at 6 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month. Ryan Deery, director, selects and directs this group. In March, they will discuss the collection of essays by Traverse City author Jerry Dennis, Up North in Michigan, and then Mr. Dennis will visit the library on March 29.

If a monthly book discussion is too much of a commitment, many public libraries and communities offer community reading, where the whole community reads the same book and participates in community discussions. The Petoskey District Library hosts #supporttheirstory, a summer reading and community action program. Petoskey received a Big Read grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for a community discussion of An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo. Join library staff and friends and receive a copy of the book at the launch event on March 9.

Now, many of you may already be in a book club and don’t want to commit to reading any more. The library is there to support your other efforts. The Petoskey District Library offers book club kits (a bag containing five copies of the same book, discussion questions, and an author biography). Petoskey also provides “multiple copy” requests for their local book clubs. This allows a person to request multiple copies of the same book to share with their club. Audiobook fans, check out Hoopla’s Book Club Hub at the Petoskey Library, where Hoopla recommends a different book each quarter for book clubs. All area public libraries offer a free copy of Book Page, a source of reviews for reading new and interesting books that can help you select your next book to discuss.

Whatever your desire, join a new club, start your own club, or support your current club, public libraries have resources to help you. Check them!

— Valerie Meyerson is director of the Petoskey District Library.