Our New Discussion Group!


Check out this article written by our Reference Librarian Jennifer for the Cape Cod Chronicle on our new Thematic Discussion Group:

It’s about sharing 

Public libraries have always been about sharing.  Sharing books, sharing ideas, sharing information, and sharing resources.  These days we are sharing electronic resources like current and historical newspapers, audiobooks, and ebooks, as well as our thousands of print books and video and audio disks.  At Brooks Free Library we offer Interlibrary loan services and we frequently request books for our patrons from all over the country as a regular part of our library services (just ask at our Reference Desk).  Offering direct access to the Internet and providing staff to assist with the technology and skills needed to access the information found there is just another way that libraries are sharing. 

Sharing information and ideas can be done in many ways and during the pandemic, many of us did a lot more of that sharing online, but as we head into a ‘new normal’ there are a lot of folks who still want the opportunity to gather in person to meet, have discussion,  and exchange ideas and information.  We are starting a new group at the library with that need in mind and the first meeting for this group will be on Tuesday August 1st, at 6:30 pm.  For now, I am calling this new group the ‘Thematic Discussion Group’ but I am actively taking suggestions for a better group name.  The idea is for this group to have a different discussion theme each month.  There will be a ‘focus’ title of a book or movie that represents the ‘theme’ for the meeting but reading this title will not be necessary for participation.  I hope that people attending the meeting will come with knowledge of and/or general enthusiasm for the topic and will talk about other books on the topic or just share their knowledge of the topic.  

This is not a typical book group where the discussion needs to revolve around a particular book title.  There are some people who enjoy reading 600+ page biographies of ex-presidents and others who would rather watch a PBS special, listen to an audiobook, or gather information from a website. Public libraries are always striving to be as inclusive as we can and we want to break down barriers that prevent people from accessing services or participating in a group, so for example if the theme were Australia and you can’t get through the long book on the history of Australia but have lived there or have just traveled there, then we really want you to come and share!  I hope that anyone who is interested in the theme will come to the group the night it is discussed and we can all share and learn from each other. 

This new group could evolve in different ways and I am open to suggestions about where it could go in the future.  A number of different ‘themes’ have been suggested including The Supreme Court, celebrity biographies (or more narrowly –  celebrity cookbooks, celebrity chefs, comedians from SNL), historical periods or events or people, women in world war II, or books by a particular author.  To kick it off, I have chosen a theme of “Wildlife on Cape Cod” with the focus book “Return of the Osprey: a season of flight and wonder” by David Gessner for the August meeting.  I am encouraging all you birders out there to come as well as anyone else who wants to talk about encounters with fisher cats, coyotes, deer, etc.  We do have a lot of birds on Cape Cod- eagles, hawks, and turkeys, to name a few, and there are a lot of great bird documentaries on our shelves. “Woodpeckers: the hole story” and “The Hummingbird Effect” are two PBS specials I can recommend on DVD.  

Our theme for the September 5 meeting will be  “True Crime on Cape Cod”.  A number of years ago I ran a one-time group on this topic so I know the true crime fans are out there and a lot more books have been published in the past few years including the focus title “Helltown: the untold story of a serial killer on cape cod” by Casey Sherman or you could try “Invisible Eden” by Flook or “The Year we disappeared” by Busby.  Yes, I do realize that these two themes are very different from each other and our current plan is to offer a few historical themes for October and November.  If you are still looking for a more typical bookgroup experience we also offer the Morning book group that meets every second Tuesday of the month at 11:30 am and the Book Klatch that meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 pm.  For more information on any of our groups as well as other programs you can check our website brooksfreelibrary.org. 

Please email me at jpickett@clamsnet.org and let me know if there is a particular discussion topic you would like to see for this group and what you think of the above suggestions.