Are you in a book club? Some of my friends are in multiple clubs, but one is enough for me. We get together on the first Friday of each month to have lunch and a discussion led by one of us about a book.
As to the discussion, each person has her own style, with some delving deep into the plot, others devoting most of the time to the author, and occasionally we get a bit off track by confessing how the book relates to our own personal experiences.
Perhaps we should have attended a program that was held here in Collier County on March 16 for book club members. Bagels and Book Clubs was sponsored by the Friends of the Library (more about that organization later) at the South Regional Library and attended by more than 150 people from 35 local book clubs.
I did not attend the event (a Library Advisory Board meeting took precedence) which included some Florida authors, such as Robert Barclay and Kristy Kiernan, in person and New York Times best-selling author Adriana Trigiani, via Skype. What I most wanted to see was the presentation by Reference Librarian Kathleen Dolan on NoveList Plus, a software program purchased by the Friends of the Library for use by patrons on the library’s website — www.colliergov.net/library.
Since I missed the event and Dolan’s guidance, I decided to go directly to the website and see what NoveList is and how easy it is to use with no prior knowledge of its capabilities. So, here goes. On the library website, I click the first item under Featured Links, Virtual Library. That gets me to the page titles “your Virtual Library @ CCPL,” and wow is there a lot of tempting stuff there (What’s tutor.com?, Downloadable media?), but let me stay on task. Right near the center of the screen in bright blue letters are the words NoveList Plus. I click on it and then enter my library card number and I’m in!
OK, let’s try it out with one of my book club’s recent choices, “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” a charming book I really enjoyed reading, even though I do not consider myself a dog person. So I keyed in the title and, voila, look at all the information that is available!
Besides excerpts from reviews that appeared in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews, there is, of course, lots about the author, Garth Stein. Most importantly, there is the NoveList Book Discussion Guide, which included an explanation of the stuffed zebra, a motif that puzzled us.
Now I know some of this information could be found by Googling the title and the author, but NoveList can really save time and provide extensive information all in one place. And I know that some books have a list of discussion questions in them and that some authors have their own websites that are a wonderful help, but isn’t it great that our library has NoveList.
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Carla Grieve is the District Two representative on the county’s Library Advisory Board and also a member of the Board of the Friends of the Library. She took early retirement from IBM in 1992 and has been a full-time Collier County resident since 1994. She can be reached at email@example.com.