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By: David Keeber, Library Director
For: Red Rock News
Date: February 6, 2009


Reading Groups at Sedona Public Library

One of the pleasures of reading is sharing what we have read with others.  Whether we read to our children or grandchildren, chat about a recent read with others at a get together, or are a member of book discussion group, talking about a book that has made an impression on us deepens the meaning of that which we read.

Maybe we want to talk about a character as being usually well-crafted, whose presence on the page comes alive to the point that we feel that we know that person.  A circumstance depicted in the book may need to be examined more deeply.  Motivation for character actions can often require delving into in order for us to understand it fully.

When we talk about what we have read, we cement it into our minds more completely.  As we discuss a book, we may do so with someone who has not read it, and thereby we can lead another person to experience what we have as we turned the pages.  When we discuss a book with those who have read it, we have the opportunity to share a common experience with another, whether the experience was fun, disturbing, thought provoking, or any of a myriad of other reactions to the story.

The common experience of sharing with others a story we have read has lead the State of Arizona to develop program annually called One Book Arizona for both adult readings and younger ones.  It has proven to be very successful, especially based on the top quality books they have selected.

Getting into a book discussion group can be a challenge, though.  Some groups have been in existence for years and it seems that to join, someone has to quit, move away or pass away!  To be honest, we at the Sedona Public Library know of the existence of many book clubs, but don't know any specifics on them because their seats are filled and the groups are not looking for new members.  When people come to the Library and ask about joining a group, we have little to offer them.

That being said, I was recently approached by a community member who is eager to assist in getting book clubs started.  She has offered to serve as matchmaker for interested individuals who want to join a group or groups,  does she.  Given that our staff is running pretty fast to keep up with the services we currently provide, this offer of assistance is extremely welcome!

If you are interested in joining a book discussion group, please consider this offer.  The Library will gladly collect your interest in a form that we can then share with our volunteer matchmaker.  We will have a form you can fill out at the Library in West Sedona, at the Village Service Center, online on our website and, as always, you can call the Library with your interest.  We need to collect your name and contact information, whether you want to go anywhere in the Sedona area or stick to your general locale, and your interests regarding the types of books you would like to discuss.

As we receive these forms, we will ask our volunteer to set to the work of matchmaking.  She will contact you and work to put people together with one another, thereafter to work out the details of your particular book discussion group.

There is so much interest in reading that I cannot fathom the numerous newspaper and magazine articles stating that reading is dying. With the number of books being checked out up 12% over last year alone, if those reports are true, then this community is the welcome exception to the rule.  If reading is a passion for you (and I suspect that if you are actually reading a newspaper column by the librarian, then this is true), please consider the wonderful sharing that participating in a book discussion group can lend to your overall enjoyment of what you read.  If you want to join a group, take advantage of this generous offer by an interested volunteer to add your name to a list we will assemble.

Lastly, if you are an existing book discussion group seeking some new blood, use the same avenue and contact us so we can help you to find new members.

David Keeber
David Keeber, author of this week's article,
is Director of the Sedona Public Library.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.

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