Rural Librarian: Bookclubs Create Community

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bookclubs Create Community

Recently on my morning commute to Pioneer Memorial Public Library I was in a terrible car crash. I was life flighted to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, WV, where I was treated for a horribly dislocated and broken ankle, severe knee lacerations, broken ribs and sternum, and a concussion with a head laceration. My faithful Subaru Legacy station wagon was totalled.

I was in intensive care for two days and then transferred to a regular bed. After four long days of pain, and relearning how to walk using a walker I came home to complete my recovery which will take months.

I live with my boyfriend and my 15 year old son. They had worked very hard to prepare a new bedroom downstairs for me as I am unable to climb stairs. My boyfriend is a great cook but most of his time is now taken up with taking care of me. This is where my bookclub comes in...

I have been a part of a local bookclub in Elkins, WV, for over 10 years. Once a month we take turns choosing books to read and then have a meeting and discussion of the book. There are always about a dozen of us in the bookclub at any given time. Members have come and gone over the years, but there is always a core group of nice ladies who like to get together to drink wine and talk about books. We all mostly live in the same neighborhood and we know each other's kids and families, sometimes peripherally, sometimes closely.

In my time of crisis, the ladies of my bookclub have made up a schedule and they are bringing food and meals to us most every single day. Earlier in the week we were treated to homemade bread and chili, split pea soup, salad, and macaroni and cheese. This expression of love, care, and nurturing has all been built upon a common love of books.

While we all might agree that books improve knowledge, which in turn creates power, books can also create community. I am truly grateful for the acts of these kind and empathetic women who over the years have become my friends. Thank you, ladies, for helping me and my family during this difficult time.

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