Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Clubs come to Crimean libraries

One of my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers here in Crimea has come up with a great idea for cooperation among the libraries in Crimea who have Volunteers assigned to them. There are six Volunteers scattered across the peninsula, all of us working with the central library in our district, or in my case, a specialized library. Sometimes it is difficult when a Volunteer first comes to her/his library. Most of the libraries have not had a Peace Corps Volunteer before and are somewhat befuddled about what “to do” with us. That is not the case here at the Gasprinskiy Library where projects ideas abound, but some of the other libraries depend greatly on Volunteers thinking creatively and suggesting possible projects for their libraries.

Anne Jasperson, a young and enthusiastic Peace Corps Volunteer who came last June to the village of Pervomaickoe in northern Crimea, came up with a great idea on how we can take advantage of the fact there is a relatively large group of Volunteers assigned to libraries in Crimea. Starting at the same time, each Peace Corps Volunteer library would form a book club of ten participants. The club would pick a book to read and discuss, and after a set period of time, the books would be passed on to the next library, via the Volunteers. So over the course of a year, all six book clubs would have had the opportunity to read and discuss six books. At the end of the time, each library would receive a copy of the six books, and sixty library patrons would have been introduced to the idea of a book club and had an opportunity to read some new literature.

Book clubs are a long standing and popular idea in the United States but are slow to take hold in this post-Soviet world. Even harder to take hold is the cooperation required among the libraries to promote this interactive book club idea. But if the Gasprinskiy Library is any indication, the idea will be received with enthusiasm and eagerness to try this idea guaranteed to promote greater use of our libraries.

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