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Monday, January 17, 2011 2:57 pm
Surveying the Scene
Posted by: Ted Balcom

Like many book club leaders, I’m always on the lookout for news of what other groups are doing.  Whenever I visit my mother-in-law in Urbana, Illinois, I make a point to check her local newspaper to learn about the activities of the book clubs in her area.  Recently I discovered that the Champaign Public Library has encouraged readers to come to a local restaurant to help plan upcoming discussions.  At the meeting, attendees are asked to choose the next book to be read and talked about — and the next restaurant where the group will meet.

In the same newspaper column, I saw that another nearby library — this one in Danville — had made an arrangement with a local bookseller to sell copies of upcoming discussion books at the library’s circulation desk.  A pretty convenient arrangement — and a great way to promote the bookstore at the same time!

Closer to home, a recent newsletter from the library where I used to work, Villa Park, described a new discussion group that was forming — this one to focus on works in Spanish, with the discussions to be carried out in Spanish, as well.  A Spanish-speaking volunteer has been lined up as the discussion leader, to provide an activity for community members who are fluent in Spanish.  The first title to be examined?  Como Aqua Para Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel. 

And at the library where I currently volunteer, Arlington Heights Memorial, there’s a new emphasis on “going green.”  The library is one of 60 in Illinois selected as a pilot site for “Go Green @ Your Library,” a state-wide, collaborative project with the Illinois Library Association and the Field Museum in Chicago.  To kick off the initiative, the library is starting a new monthly discussion group, “Reading Green.”  The first two titles to be featured are Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv, and Plan B 4.0, Mobilizing to Save Civilization, by Lester R. Brown.  The group will meet monthly, and there will be two discussion sessions for each book  — one on Thursday evenings and the other on Saturday mornings — so participants can take their pick.

Just wondering — have any Book Group Buzz readers out there come up with similar interesting ideas?

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