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PA Forward: Beyond Book Clubs – Create a Club at your Library!

Susan Sentz
Susan Sentz

By: Susan Sentz

Looking for something different to hold at your library? Why not make it a club? Book clubs are a great program for your library to get patrons coming back each month; so it’s time to capitalize on this by creating other clubs for patrons to keep them coming back month after month.

To support Health Literacy and the Summer Reading Program theme, the Northampton Area Public Library created two clubs to run throughout the summer.  The first is the Walking Club which meets weekly for a half hour of walking at either the library, local parks, or trails. This club allows staff and patrons to exercise and socialize outside of the Library, while also providing accountability every week in a group setting. Walking Club also allows members to become more acquainted with their local community by visiting local trails and parks.  This club was only meant to last through summer, but due to the large interest will continue into fall.

Recipe Swap Club was also created to coincide with the Summer Reading Program with an emphasis on healthy cooking.  Participants used recipes from books within the Library’s collection. Creator of the program, Barbara Bateman, Senior Outreach Coordinator at Northampton Area Public Library, stated “Our Library already has an extensive recipe book collection and I was trying to find a way for patrons to utilize the collection.” The club is running for four months with each session concentrating on a different Table with prepared food itemsfood item.  At the meetings members can discuss their recipes, what inevitably went wrong, socialize and of course taste test everyone’s recipe.  This club has also brought on new programing opportunities at the Library such as a local chef providing a cooking demonstration after learning of the existence of the club. Bateman states, “It’s well received in that it’s getting passed around by word of mouth. We are anticipating it growing and the members seem to really be enjoying themselves.” This club will also live on past summer with fall and winter sessions already in the works.

Lastly, there is a club that supports a continuing trend and health: Adult Coloring Clubs. Many libraries promote this craze through a monthly club; such is the case at the Parkland Community Library. Becky Wanamaker, Adult Services Librarian at Parkland Community Library, started Joy of Coloring because she knew of the growing popularity of adult coloring. She has also found the club to be easy to prepare and implement.  The overall benefit though lies with the patron’s state of well-being through coloring. Wanamaker has found that it does not matter if the attendees work on their own to relax or socialize while coloring, they are all benefiting. Wanamaker states, “They love to be able to do this activity at the library, so that other interruptions are not a concern, and there is just no doubt that they are gaining mental benefits and renewed perspective though time they spend coloring.”  The Joy of Coloring continues to meet at the Parkland Community Library every fourth Wednesday.

The possibilities are endless for the type of new club you can bring to your library, the more creative the better. Make it fun and engaging for your patrons so they want to come back month after month.  Watch your programs grow!

For more ideas on how to promote Health Literacy in your library, visit the PA Forward Commons and be sure to add your programs to the database by completing the PA Forward Commons Submission Form!

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