SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

October 12, 2012

Book club kits help you get started

Members of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium can choose from more than 100 book club kits to help them start their own groups.

The kits can be borrowed for six weeks and include everything needed to organize a circle of readers, so they can focus on getting together to discuss a book.

“They’re in a canvas bag, and each one has about 15 paperback copies,” said Nancy Day, head of technical services at Hamilton-Wenham Public Library.

“It will also include a large-print book, a book on CD and sometimes a DVD if the book has been made into a movie,” Day said. “There’s a notebook that will have discussion questions, and a note on the author.”

Many groups plan their reading a year in advance, Day said, but book club kits can be reserved as far as three years prior to a meeting.

“Right now, patrons can see on the website what kits are available,” Day said.

These come from throughout the consortium, which numbers 35 members and locally includes Ipswich, Topsfield and Boxford libraries, in addition to Hamilton-Wenham. To reserve a kit at Hamilton-Wenham, members must contact Day or Karen D’Ambrosio directly, either in person or by calling.

“I usually tell people to get three choices, and then we can see what’s available for the time they want it,” Day said. “It’s checked out to whoever is head of the group or wants to take responsibility.

“When it’s here, we give them a call and they come to the library and pick it up. At that point, they’re responsible for getting the books back.”

Of the many kits available, Hamilton-Wenham has created eight, with titles ranging from classics like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” to Anne Tyler’s “Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant” to Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Bean Trees.”

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