Check out Public Library’s many book clubs

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

Did you know there are book clubs meeting across the County? Jennifer Kingma , interlibrary loan coordinator for the County of Prince Edward Public Library, helps ensure that book club members have access to enough copies of their chosen books each month.

“We borrow books from libraries across the province,” explains Jennifer. “We couldn’t keep ten copies of every book on our shelves but luckily, libraries are all about sharing! We make sure each person has the book they need by borrowing from other libraries.”

Each month 26 book clubs (in other words, approximately 260 people) receive copies of their selected book. The books arrive by mail to the Bloomfield Branch where they are processed and distributed to each person’s preferred branch. It’s a fine-tuned system requiring careful timing so that books arrive in time to be read before the meeting date.

Each year we poll groups and invite them to nominate the “best” book they read.  The groups can define “best” in any way they like – often it’s the book they enjoyed the most or the book that sparked the best conversation.

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny made the list  – perhaps no surprise as Penny is one of Prince Edward County’s most-read authors.

Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay tells of Harry Boyd, who has returned from Toronto to a small radio station in Yellowknife. Set in 1975, the book is packed with eccentric and loveable characters who form an unlikely group at the station.

More than one group selected Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, and they’re in good company. The book has received countless awards and accolades including Canada Reads and the Governor General’s Literary Award.  The publisher has this to say about the book:  “Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention. Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver.”

We were honoured to host Michelle Good for a virtual author visit in 2021 in conversation with Lenny Epstein. These are just a few of the books on the list – more to be revealed in January. If you’re a member of a book club and would like to add your pick, contact Jennifer at illodept@peclibrary.org or (613) 393-3400.

You can also reach out to her if your group would like to receive your monthly reads through the library’s interlibrary loan service.

-Liz Zylstra