Just Add Readers!

Book Group in-a-bag kits (BGBs)

You just finished reading the most amazing book and you’re just dying to talk to someone about it but none of your friends have read it yet. So you loan your book out to your friends, but it’s taking forever for them to read it. Being the good friend you are, you don’t want to spoil it for them by telling them the ending too soon, so you wait—and wait some more—until you finally have someone to discus the book with. By that time you may have forgotten all the details you wanted to talk about, leaving the much anticipated discussion unsatisfactory. What’s a person to do?

The library has a solution: Book Group in-a-bag kits—just add readers!

These book group in-a-bag kits contain ten books of the same title that someone can check out and share with their friends. We started with 22 book group bags (January 2005) and currently have over 100 titles to choose from: classics, mysteries, thrillers, etc. They can be reserved up to a year in advance for a specific six-week period. They are in high demand so plan accordingly. We are on track to have 400 circs for 2010. We recently added some titles for children to enjoy the experience of book groups. The kits for children have between six and eight books per bag and currently there are eleven titles available.

The kits were originally part of an initiative funded by the Minnesota Library Association Foundation in 2004. We had a grant of $2000 to start our collection of book club kits that people can check out for their own book groups. The majority of that money was used to purchase the book group bags, since we initially selected titles based on which books we were able to pull from donations. We still create some kits using donated books from our Library Friends. If there is enough local interest in titles that we don’t have, we will purchase books; 10-15% of new BGBs are patron suggestions. Every year we add 10-20 new titles and circulation for these kits have really increased through the years.

Interested patrons should contact library staff at the Fiction, Movies and Music desk to book BGBs (in person or over the phone).

BGBs must be picked up and returned to the Fiction, Movies & Music Desk, NOT the bookmobile or the drive up book return. Bags are not checked out until all the books are returned. The title list is available online. If you have any suggestions of titles you would like to see in our book group in-a-bag list, just let us know.

Each bag has:

10 copies of the book
A reading group guide and discussion questions
sign out sheet,
book group basics handout,
evaluation sheet
Read-alike bookmarks

Katherine Stecher
Readers Services Division

Visiting Author Series – Cary Griffith

 Cary J. Griffith, a freelance writer who specializes in writing about the outdoors, is the author of Lost in the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods and the Minnesota Book Award-winning nonfiction adventure Opening Goliath: Danger and Discover in Caving.

Save the date: Sunday, April 10 – 2:00 pm in the auditorium.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Rochester Public Library.

Find Cary Griffith online

Visiting Author Series – Kent Nerburn

 Kent Nerburn has enjoyed a multi-faceted career.  As a sculptor, his work has been frequently exhibited in his native Minnesota.  As an author, his writings reflect his training in theology and his long association with Native Americans. He as been awarded the Minnesota Book Award twice, and is also a widely published art critic and longtime educator.

Save the Date: Sunday, March 20 – 2:00 pm in the auditorium

Find Kent Nerburn online

This program was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota’s Arts and cultural Heritage Fund.

Visiting Author Series – Gayla Marty

 Gayla Marty grew up on a farm in east central Minnesota and studied journalism at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, including a year at the Université de Tunis in Tunisia, North Africa. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and has written many short articles, two plays, and readings for liturgy and worship. Her first book, Memory of Trees: A Daughter’s Story of a Family Farm, was published by University of Minnesota Press in April 2010. She lives in Minneapolis and works as a writer and editor with an interest in culture, agriculture, and natural history.

Reminder: Save the date! Sunday, March 6 – 2:00 pm in the Auditorium
Sponsored by the Friends of the Library

Find Gayla Marty online

January – National Book Month

January is National Book Month!
Celebrate with us by checking a book (or several books) out of the library, by purchasing a book in our favourite bookstore : Friends of the Library Bookstore, or by checking out a Book Group in a Bag selection and have your book club all read the same book.

Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are. Mason Cooley