Meet the Facilitators of RPL's Book Clubs

At Rodman Public Library, we believe it’s always a good time to join a book a club.

That’s why we have five of them. –  the Kids Book Club (ages 8-12), the Teen Book Club (ages 12-18), Books and Coffee, True Crime Junkies, and the RPL Evening Book Discussion Group.  

And joining any of those clubs doesn’t mean you are committed to attending every monthly meeting. Readers can pick and choose which meetings they wish to attend. If a selection doesn’t suit you, simply skip it.

[Check out the selections of each club]

As a way of introduction, here are the five women who lead the five book discussion groups at Rodman Library and what they have to say about their particular clubs:

 

Charlene Duro
CHARLENE DURO

BOOKS AND COFFEE

Meets every third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at The Branch Library.

Led by Charlene Duro

How do you choose the selections?

I try to choose a variety of genre for Books & Coffee. We have read mysteries, biographies, romances, fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction. I choose books according to book reviews, reliable internet sites, and input from the book club members. I also try to pick books that are accessible in various types of format, such as books on cd, regular and large print, digital audio books and ebooks.

 What can people expect when they attend one of your meetings?

Most  people who attend book clubs love books and reading and they will find other people who feel the same way. We have a friendly group of people. If someone new attends, we always go around the table and introduce ourselves. I usually begin the discussion by talking about the author and then I ask questions about the book itself, the characters, and their motives. We usually have a lively discussion, even if some of the people did not like the book for that month. Sometimes we discuss cultural aspects of a book. For example, we read a book written by an English author and talked about how words in English in the U.S. and the U.K., do not always have the same meaning. Books discussions can be more than just talking about the story.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about attending a meeting but isn’t sure if it’s for them?

Give it a chance and attend a meeting.  I think a book club is a place to connect with other people who love to read. It’s also a way to expand your mind, learn about history, a different culture, or understand how other people live and work.  It really is a terrific way to get to know more people and expand your horizons.

Do you have to attend every meeting, or is it OK to pick and choose which discussions you attend?

No, you do not have attend every meeting. Some people only come if they really enjoyed the selected book, others come every month, but everyone is welcome to attend whenever they choose. Occasionally, some folks did not read the book, but come to hear the discussion and enjoy conversation with other people. There is no shame if you did not get the book read – we all have busy lives.

How long have you been moderating a book club?

 I started facilitating the book club at the Branch in September of 2019. When the library was closed due to Covid 19 restrictions, I started an online book club, which I called Books & Coffee. We actually read a new title and met every 2 weeks. It was a good way to interact with others and keep our minds active during quarantine.

Why do you enjoy facilitating your club?

I love to read, talk about books, and meet new people. I am always on a book high after our discussions – everyone in the group contributes different and thought-provoking perspectives on whatever we are reading.  It’s fun to get together with people who appreciate the same activity – reading.

Additional Comments:

If you have never tried a book club before, but love to read – give it a try! You do not have to finish the book every month and you do not have to attend every meeting, even though you are welcome if you read the book or not. It’s just a great opportunity to meet new friends, learn new things, and read new authors and genres that you would not have chosen for yourself.

 

Ashley Mock
ASHLEY MOCK

TRUE CRIME JUNKIES

Meets every third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Library.

Led by Ashley Mock

How do you choose the selections?

My selection process is a mix of a few things. First, I will find titles that sound interesting, sometimes on Goodreads or other times just through talking to other people. I also like to ask the group is they have any specific topics they want to cover. Once I have either a title or a subject, I do a little research. I look at how long it is, how well rated it is, and how any copies of the book are in our system.

What can people expect when they attend one of your meetings?

 A lot of passionate discussion. Everyone who attends has shown to be really interested in true crime as a whole so we have a lot to say. We stay focused on the book for that month and talk about what we liked and disliked about the book itself as well as anything that stood out to us about the specific crime. We also link a lot of other killers together when we see similarities. So even though we read a book about Ted Bundy we may end up talking about a handful of other cases as well. I always end up learning something.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about attending a meeting but isn’t sure if it’s for them?

We are a very welcoming group so please don’t be afraid to just try it out. Everyone there just wants to talk about true crime with people who won’t look at them like they’re crazy. It’s a pretty laid back group and everyone has the chance to add to the conversation if they want. And if you do find that the subject isn’t for you, no hard feelings!

Do you have to attend every meeting, or is it OK to pick and choose which discussions you attend?

You are under no obligation to attend every meeting. If I choose a book you don’t like or you are busy feel free to skip that month. While we do have a number of members who are there every month, there are always one or two who can’t make it. Pick and choose to your hearts content!

How long have you been moderating a book club?

I started this book club in October 2021.

Why do you enjoy facilitating your club?

I love finding books that I think the members will enjoy. I will float ideas past the group if I’m not sure about something and take note of any specific cases they are interested in and try to find a good book covering them. True crime is something I have always enjoyed so being able to have these discussions with people on the same wavelength is amazing fun for me.

Additional Comments:

This subject matter makes the meetings sound a lot darker than they are. We talk about a lot of serious things but the dynamic of the group is still fun.  We also have snacks! I like to bring new cookies or other desserts as well as a drink (usually sweet tea).

 

 

Kathryn Miller
KATHRYN MILLER

EVENING BOOK DISCUSSION GROUP

Meets every fourth Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the Main Library.

Led by Kathryn Miller.

How do you choose the selections?

Members of the book club recommend  books they’ve read or read favorable reviews of. We also try to pick a variety of genres. The One Book One Community book choice is automatically selected for one month.

What can people expect when they attend one of your meetings?

Two questions that are always discussed are: Did you read this book?  and Did you like this book? Everyone gets a chance to ask and answer other questions.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about attending a meeting but isn’t sure if it’s for them?

Come to a meeting and see if you like it. No commitment necessary. We’re a friendly group.

Do you have to attend every meeting, or is it OK to pick and choose which discussions you attend?

Choose the meetings you wish to attend.

How long have you been moderating a book club?

Another person was moderator but became  ill and asked me to do it a few times and gradually I ended up doing it by default.

Why do you enjoy facilitating your club?

I enjoy keeping them on track. We’re a casual group.

Additional Comments:

Book clubs encourage one to read outside one’s comfort zone.

 

Jaime Gross
JAIME GROSS

TEEN BOOK CLUB

Meets every third Monday of the month at 4:00 p.m. at the Main Library.

Led by Jaime Gross

How do you choose the selections?

I usually compile a list of two or three young adult or even middle grade titles for each major genre (fantasy, science-fiction, contemporary, historical, horror) that I’ve previously read and thought would make for a good discussion point. Then I give my suggestions to the group and let the teens vote for the titles that interest them the most. I try to make sure we pick at least one book that each person is interested in. We usually pick six months at a time, and I also take suggestions from the teens if they have any.

What can teens expect when they attend one of your meetings?

We usually talk about the selected title for a bit and then either do a craft or some other kind of  activity or game related to the book. For example, one time we read a mystery and the teens were challenged with a mini-puzzle/escape room type of activity to complete. We also usually have snacks available during the meeting. It’s pretty low-key and just meant to kind of hang out and talk about books and meet other readers their age.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about attending a meeting but isn’t sure if it’s  for them?

I would say they should at least give it a try and show up. We read a variety of books and talk about many different topics during the meeting so we usually have something for everybody. You won’t know if it’s for you unless you attend and find out.

Do you have to attend every meeting, or is it OK to pick and choose which discussions you attend?

The teen book club is super flexible. You can come every time or you can just come for the books you’re interested in. I also encourage teens to come even if they didn’t finish or read the book. Part of the point of the club is to meet other teens who like to read and to talk about books.

How long have you been moderating a book club?

​We started the Teen Book Club in January of 2020 and continued to meet virtually during the pandemic. We started meeting in person again the summer of 2021.

Why do you enjoy facilitating your club?

I love to read books and enjoy sharing my love for books with other readers. It’s fun to come up with a fun craft or activity that goes with the book of the month and to encourage teens to find something they like to read.

Additional Comments:

I am always up for suggestions on how to make the Teen Book Club better. I welcome any ideas for future books, crafts, or activities and anything that would get teens interested in attending this program. 

 

Stacy Digianantonio
STACY DIGIANANTONIO

KIDS BOOK CLUB

Meets on the third Wednesday of each month from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. at the Main Library.

Led by Stacy Digianantonio.

How do you choose the selections?

I try to pick newer books the kids can relate to.  I’ll sprinkle in a classic here and there as well.  I look at books that have received starred reviews or are popular picks for book clubs for kids.

What can children expect when they attend one of your meetings?

We have a book discussion, an activity related to the book or play a game, snack, and a brief introduction to the next book.  I make it so that kids who may not have had a chance to finish the book may still enjoy the meeting. 

What would you say to a kid who is thinking about attending a meeting but isn’t sure if it’s for them?

Show up and see if you like it.  There is no commitment to attend the next book club, so if it’s not for you, there is no obligation to attend the next one. 

Do you have to attend every meeting, or is it OK to pick and choose which discussions you attend?

You do not need to attend every meeting.  If a particular book isn’t for you, feel free to skip it and try the next one.

How long have you been moderating the book club?

I’ve been facilitating the children’s book club at Rodman Public Library since January of 2015.

Why do you enjoy facilitating your club?

I love seeing children excited to read.  It makes me smile every time I hear a child say they loved the book and some of the kids find a new author or series to enjoy that they may not have found on their own.  It’s very rewarding.