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Three members of the book club holding up books

News Glasgow Libraries to celebrate the importance of Book Groups

Book fans from across the city will be descending on Glasgow’s Mitchell Library this Saturday (7th) as the city plays host to a special Reading Groups Day.

Helping to celebrate the importance of coming together over a good book the event, which kicks off Glasgow’s National Libraries Week (7-14 October), will be hosted by acclaimed Scottish author Louise Welsh with avid readers invited to explore what makes a good book group book, and what it takes to be a great reading group at the free event.

One group who advocate the benefits of reading for pleasure are Whiteinch Library Book Group, Glasgow Libraries longest running book group, who celebrate their 20th anniversary this year.

Over the past two decades the 15-strong group, who meet once a month in Whiteinch Library, have read more than 400 books.

Founding member Wilma, said:

“Being part of a book discussion group is great. It’s good to hear different people’s viewpoints because I think other people draw things out of books that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. We don’t have academic talks about the books – the best debates happen when some people really like the book and others really don’t.

“We made a conscious decision to read all kinds of books, everything from Egyptian fiction, Japanese fiction, historical books, poetry, graphic novels, some non-fiction – we once read a book about parasites for Glasgow University, who even brought parasites along to our discussion group. We read all sorts of books because we are keen to not limit ourselves.”

Richard, one of the group’s newest members, said:

“I would never normally read historical fiction, but I have here and enjoyed it. Coming here really does broaden your horizons. It’s great to be amongst a group of people who have a whole spectrum of emotions about a book – from loving it to hating it.”

Jean, who has been with the group since it launched in 1997, added:

“I used to be a terrible snob about books, but when I came here I started reading books that I would never have picked up in a month of Sundays.

“Reading is a great pleasure for me, but it’s really important to be able to talk about something you’ve read. If you meet someone the day after a TV programme was on, you can have a discussion about it, but that’s not something you tend to get with a book so it’s really nice to be able to talk about a book with people who’ve read it.”

It is globally recognised that reading for pleasure can have a dramatic impact on the lives of people of all ages; increasing empathy, reducing symptoms of depression and improving wellbeing.

And with 66% of adults across the country reading in their spare time, the inaugural Glasgow’s Reading Groups Day celebrates all the good things that can happen when people come together in their communities to share and talk about reading.

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life, said:

“Reading for pleasure can have a positive impact on people’s lives and being part of a book group is a fantastic way to discover the joy of reading. Coming together with friends over a good book allows you to escape the stresses of everyday life and explore the many positive benefits reading can offer.

“If you’re a member of a book group, or fancy joining one, head down to your local library and find out how the library can support you. Whether you’re looking for a comfortable space to meet, recommendations for new books, or simply want to reserve enough copies for your whole group to enjoy, your local library can help you discover the many positives of book group membership.”

More than 800 people across the city are members of Glasgow Libraries affiliated book groups, reaping the benefits of having a Book Group Library membership.

Reading groups play an important role in discovering and celebrating debut authors, building audiences and influencing library and bookseller stock selection.

In return, Glasgow Libraries offer book group members the opportunity to borrow multiple copies of the same book for up to six months at a time. They also benefit from free reservations, access to the book group recommended reads and support from a dedicated member of library staff in their local library.

Whilst more than 35 groups do meet at their local libraries, you don’t have to hold your book gatherings inside a library building to reap the benefits. So if you’d rather meet in the local pub, park or the comfort of your own home Glasgow Libraries can still help you make sure everyone has a copy of your favourite read.

Glasgow’s Reading Groups Day takes place from 1pm – 4pm on Saturday, 7th October 2017 in the Mitchell Library. Admission is free.

If you’re part of a reading group, speak to your local library about Book Group Membership and if you’re looking for a reading group to join check out www.glasgowlife.org.uk/whatson to find your nearest group.