Librarians, administration start new book club

Designed to cultivate community, connection among students, staff members

Morgan Fry, Editor in Chief

As an avid reader and lover of books, NC librarian Cheri Price was delighted when the Director of Equity and Belonging, Dr. Jennifer Rowe, approached her with the idea of creating a book club aimed to strengthen connections among students, Price said. With co-planning and preparation, the pair, along with SC librarian Kristen Rigano, launched the LT Reads Book Club, where participants read a new book each month and meet during lunch periods at both NC and SC to discuss. 

“I think reading promotes common experiences that we all can share,” Price said. “We learn about other people and cultures which can help us build a more cohesive student body.” 

Any interested student or staff member may choose to sign up on a monthly basis for each book and meeting date at their campus library. Participants are given the book to keep free of charge. Kaelyn Sloan ‘23 was working in the library when she heard the librarian give another student the first month’s book, and decided she wanted to sign up as well.  

“This year, I have been very busy, so [the club] is a great opportunity for me to continue my passion for reading outside of the stress of school,” Sloan said. “I think it’s so cool to get a free book and be in an environment where I can connect with other people interested in reading.” 

Rowe and both campus librarians choose popular fiction and non-fiction young adult books, and pair many of their selections with different heritage months. For example, October’s book—“The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevado—corresponded with Latix Heritage Month, which prompted discussion about inclusivity and identity at the first club meeting on Oct. 15.

“I was really impressed with how creative this book was, being written in verse,” participant Jessica Stanner ‘22 said. “[The book] inspired me to branch out more in what I read and what I write.”

Pizza and snacks are served at the start of every club meeting, Price said. Students then participate in activities and discussion surrounding the book for the month. While these group activities vary each month, at the first meeting participants viewed a video of Acevado reading her book, collaborated to create a group poem, and discussed how themes in the book resonated with them. 

“I like how that discussion was much more focused on how we felt rather than analyzing it as you would in an academic setting,” Stanner said. “[The discussion] felt much more about our experience with reading [the book] and how we connected to it. It was like a conversation with friends.” 

The goal of these book discussions are to cultivate a sense of understanding of the different groups of students that make up LT, Price said. She hopes that each student will feel valued and accepted during book discussions. 

“You might [never] learn anything about your classmate just sitting next to them in class,” Price said. “But if you read something and have a common understanding around an issue, it builds common knowledge and ground.”

November’s book is titledQueer, There, and Everywhere: 23 people Who Changed the World” by Sarah Prager, and corresponds with LGBT History Month. The club will discuss the book during lunch periods on Thursday, Nov. 4 at both campus libraries.