Fri, Jan. 24

Book clubs a rewarding, enriching experience

Library volunteer Gayle Macklin shows Marybeth Carlile how to download library books to her NOOK. 

Library volunteer Gayle Macklin shows Marybeth Carlile how to download library books to her NOOK. 

Most of you know that Sedona Public Library is a private, 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation. The library depends on grants and donations for operating expenses. There are many ways to support the library.

Here is one very creative example. Instead of exchanging gifts for the holidays, a local book club chose to give monetary donations to Sedona Public Library in the Village (SPL-V). The generosity of this book club prompted me to think about book clubs.

Nathan Heller in “Slate Magazine” states, “More than 5 million adults are thought to be in reading groups, not counting online clubs…” (“Slate Magazine”, July 29, 2011).

Why are book clubs so popular? Why do people join book clubs? How can book clubs make a difference in the lives of readers? With these questions in mind, I decided to interview several individuals about their book clubs or book discussion groups.

Ann Meiggs, a former SPL Board Member and active member of the SPL-V committee, shared these ideas about her book club. 

"I enjoy reading books I might never have chosen to read or didn’t know much, or anything, about.  I appreciate the broad range of perspectives about the book overall but also the discussion of the author’s style and the character development. 

"I like the fact that the book discussion leader rotates as does the venue.  Even if I am not the book discussion leader, I always access the Internet for information about the author and the book, especially author interviews.

"Recently, I have been exposed to biographies of past presidents and have learned so much about American political history. 

"I especially appreciate two authors I have been exposed to: 

• Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “No Ordinary Time” about Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt during the war years and more recently “Team of Rivals” also by Goodwin. 

"I believe one of the things that made the movie “Lincoln” so extraordinary was Goodwin’s contribution. 

"• The other author is Candace Millard, who wrote “Destiny of the Republic” about President James Garfield. 

These books have rekindled in me a love of history."

Rita Gendron, a resident of VOC, expressed these thought and feelings about her book group.

"I absolutely love being in a book club because it has not only opened my world to many wonderful books, I truly would not have otherwise read, it has also enabled me to meet a wonderful group of women who love getting to see each other and chat once a month!  

"Members come and go as they may move into and out of Sedona, so our group ‘breathes’ by expanding and contracting a little each year. Discussing a book opens the discussion to a wide variety of topics and allows us to get to really know one another, too.  

"Also, getting someone else’s insight into what they perceive of the book’s author and characters can be truly a life changing experience."

Patricia Lowell, a reference librarian at SPL, belongs to a neighborhood book club. Here’s what Patricia offered about her reading group.

"Other than having stimulating discussions about the books, we learn about each other in greater depth than just saying "hi."  We have become a support group for any and all situations."

Obviously, these avid readers feel passionate about reading and truly enjoy all that book clubs have to offer: friendship, support, new ideas, and a passion for reading.

If you are not ready to become a full-fledged member of a book club, you should consider participating in community book discussions. These book discussions are held every other month at Sedona Winds. Books are provided by the library.

The community book discussions are free and open to the public.

The book discussions are facilitated by SPL staff. Ann Meiggs also enjoys attending these book discussions. Actually, Ann is responsible for organizing all the Arizona Humanities Council programs at book discussions that take place at Sedona Winds. Participants appreciate Ann’s efforts to provide these rich learning opportunities.

Pat Heard resides at Sedona Winds and participates in the community book discussions. Pat commented:

"Since attending the SPL-V book discussions, I have read a number of books that I wouldn’t have discovered on my own. Reading these books has been a rewarding experience for which I thank the staff members of SPL, who facilitate these discussions."

You may know Patty Swanson as a former volunteer at SPL-V. An avid reader, Patty takes advantage of library services by placing holds on library books and checking out many books at a time.

On the average, Patty probably reads a book a day. She lives at Sedona Winds and also participates in the community book discussions. Here’s what Patty has to say about the community book discussions:

"I tend to read certain kinds of books -- rarely wandering outside my comfortable niche. The book discussions encourage me to expolore. The books selected for the book discussions are usually books that I would not consider reading. I appreciate so much these book discussions. They enrich my reading experience."

As you can see, book discussions, reading groups, and book clubs enrich our lives. If you are ready to participate, the next community book discussion will be Wednesday, Feb. 27, 1:30 p.m., at Sedona Winds, 405 Jacks Canyon Road.

Scott Sanicki, circulation manager at SPL, will facilitate the discussion of John Steinbeck’s classic novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” You may pick up your loaner copy of the book at SPL-V.

The loaner copies are paperbacks with small print, so if you need large print or the CD book, please call the library to place a hold. The program is free and open to the public. All are welcome!

If you missed the eReader workshop in January, the next session is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15, 9-11 a.m. at SPL-V. This workshop is designed to learn how to download library books to your eReader. This is not a class, so you don’t need to stay for two hours, and you don’t need to register.

Come at your convenience for a one-on-one session with a library volunteer who will assist you with your eReader. You must be familiar with the basic operation of your device. You will need your library card and pin number. Also, please bring all cables and your charger.

If you need assistance with your NOOK, you also need to bring your laptop to download library books.

For more information about this free eReader workshop, please contact Cheryl Yeatts at 928-284-1603 or Funding for this program provided by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Record, a division of the Secretary of State, under the Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

As part of the ongoing Rotating Artists Program, the stunning photography of Chuck Schug will be displayed at SPL-V during the month of February.

In March, SPL-V will showcase the fabulous work of the Northern Arizona Chapter Embroiders’ Guild of America.

Sedona Public Library in the Village is located at 7000 Highway 179, Suite C-102, in the courtyard of Tequa Plaza. 

Library hours are 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.  

The library is closed Sunday and Monday. 

When the library is closed, please return library materials to the book drop box.  If you have questions or need directions to SPL-V, you may contact Cheryl Yeatts, site manager, at 928.284.1603 or 

The Sedona Public Library is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, supported by donations and grants. 

Your tax-deductible donation may be sent to:  Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona, AZ 86336.

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