Library encourages readers to check out new book club

The Irene Ingle Public Library already offers robust programming to support literacy for children, from weekly story times to the summer reading program. But thanks to a new book club geared toward adults, kids won’t be the only ones reaping the rewards of reading. Starting next month, the book club will give grown-ups a chance to read, discuss, socialize and build a community of fellow literature-lovers.

The first meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 21, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the library.

So far, 17 people have signed up, which is “huge for a book club,” said Library Director Sarah Scambler. She may end up breaking the club into smaller groups or, if it continues to expand, establishing multiple simultaneous book clubs in a variety of genres that would allow participants to pick what they’re most interested in.

The club will be a low-stress, low-commitment social space, explained Scambler. “We want it to be something that’s fun and entertaining for people to do,” she said. “We’re going to choose a book per month and we’ll have a meeting. If it’s a book people aren’t interested in, they don’t have to participate that month.”

Accessibility is also a priority. Participants won’t have to purchase their own copy of the monthly selection — Scambler plans to order the chosen book in bulk for readers to check out. Large print and audio options will also be available.

The club’s first selection is “The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women,” by Kate Moore. This chilling nonfiction narrative tells the story of female factory workers in the early 1900s who painted glow-in-the-dark numbers onto watch faces by hand, using radium — a new element that had recently been discovered by Marie Curie.

With its lustrous, silvery color and natural luminescence, radium was the next big thing in beauty products, lotions and even food and drink — until factory workers started getting sick from radiation exposure. Moore’s book paints a dramatic picture of their lives, the attempted corporate cover-up of radium’s harmful effects and with the workers’ rights movement shortly after the turn of the century.

The book receives a nearly five-star average review on Amazon, but even if it’s not your cup of radioactive tea, Scambler encourages you to participate in the club meeting anyway. Whether you devoured the entire story or couldn’t make it past the first chapter, “we want to be able to include as many people as possible,” she said. “It’s really just supposed to be a gathering. People are looking for that now, post-COVID, to get back into being social.”

Plus, people who attend meetings will be able to influence the club’s next book selections.

“We’re very open to change and to suggestions and just getting people together to read and talk about what they’re reading,” said Scambler.

To join the book club email list, send her a message at library@wrangell.com.

 

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