“One of the first things the Library did after closing our physical locations in response to COVID-19 was start looking for ways to maintain our connection with readers,” says Kaite Stover, director of readers’ services at the Kansas City Public Library.
Reading may be a solitary activity, but it encourages sharing and connection. The Library seeks to foster those connections through a variety of book groups.
“When the pandemic hit and we lost that access to our physical spaces, we wanted to do everything we could to give our book club members safe spaces where they could stay in touch with each other and continue to engage in lively conversations about reading,” Stover says.
Staff started looking for ways to move those book clubs online, often utilizing software such as Zoom.
As of today, the Library hosts 13 online book clubs.
A few book club members acknowledged the challenge of learning new technology. As one reader pointed out, “We read to expand our horizons and learn new things. Nobody expected the coronavirus to do that to us, but here we are.”
While both staff and patrons are looking forward to again being able to meet in person, online book groups could become a permanent fixture.
“The convenience of attending book club gatherings from home has made it easier for busy readers to attend and encouraged new readers to find KCPL’s book clubs,” Stover said. “That’s one aspect of this we would like to continue after we are able to fully reopen.”
Find a book club that fits your schedule and reading taste here.
If you belong to a community book group, explore our lists of circulating book group bags here.
For help starting or finding a book club, contact Kaite Stover, KCPL’s director of readers’ services, by email or by phone at 816-701-3683.
Find a Book Group | Upcoming Book Discussions