Celebrating 100 years

Book clubs abound at BHML

Mon, 04/01/2024 - 8:45am

Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library (BHML) celebrates a major milestone this year, 100 years of serving our community. The Register plans a series on the library’s offerings and the people, place, history and legacy of BHML, starting with book clubs.

BHML offers more than a half dozen book clubs, spanning a variety of genres and interests:

  1. I Love a Mystery Book Club: This popular club coordinated by Shirley Sirois meets the second Saturday of the month from October through June, 10:30-12:00. “We choose mysteries of substance, including history, social and humanitarian issues,” Sirois writes. March’s book dealt with the 9/11 attacks, and April's story will deal with girls disappearing from immigrant communities.
  2. Monday Night Book Club: BHML’s oldest book club, it has run continuously for at least 25 years. Coordinated by Leslie Muir-Volpe, it meets at the library and on Zoom the second Monday of each month, 7:00-8:00. “We read books of all genres with an emphasis on award-winning best sellers, current and past. We also read a classic each February and a biography in March for Women's History Month and at least one or two non-fiction books at some point during the year,” Muir-Volpe writes. Offered in a hybrid format, summer residents can participate year-round.
  3. Family Read & Watch Book Club: Coordinated by Jennifer Betts and sponsored by Harbor Theater, First National Bank & FNB Wealth Management, Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops & Boothbay Harbor House of Pizza, this club has families reading the selected book together. Then the club meets for the families to discuss the book together over a pizza dinner. After dinner, families watch the movie over popcorn. “I love this event because it engages families in an activity they can all share in together… It is always fun to see how they feel about the movie as compared to the book,” Betts writes. The next book is “Hoot” by Carl Hiaasen on Friday, April 19 at 5:30 (registration required). A convenient extension of this popular club is available through Book Club in a Bag kits that contain five copies of the book, a DVD of the movie, and discussion questions, available for check-out at the library desk. Circulating now are kits for “How to Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell and “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo.
  4. Midday Books at Oak Point Farm: Coordinated by Bethany Schmidt, BHML programs and technology manager, in collaboration with Boothbay Region Land Trust, this new book club focuses on non-fiction science and nature books and meets at Oak Point Farm at noon on the fourth Thursday of each month. The club discuss books such as “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Kimmerer, “How to Change Your Mind” by Michael Pollan, and “What an Owl Knows” by Jennifer Ackerman.
  5. Mom’s Night In Book Club: By moms, for moms. This group joins mothers in reading literature that sparks real and raw discussions, allowing members to share their own experiences if they choose. It meets the fourth Thursday of the month from 6 to 7:30. “Whether you are changing diapers or filling out college applications this group is for you,” writes Schmidt. April’s discussion book is "The End We Start From" by Megan Hunter.
  6. Biography & Memoir Book Club: Volunteer-led, this newest book club reads a variety of biographies and memoirs, meeting in the Great Room of the library at 4:30 on the first Thursday of each month. The group is currently reading Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s biography.
  7. Maine Humanities Council Discussion Project: This mini book club is in its seventh year. It meets monthly March-May at varying times (see Events calendar). This year's theme revolves around three dystopian novels written throughout the last 100 years; participants get a copy of each discussion book to keep. Registration required.

"The library works to offer a variety of diverse programs that are relevant, engaging, and support the needs and interests of our community," said Schmidt. All BHML book clubs are free and open to the public, both drop-in and regular attendees. Books are typically picked via nomination and ranked voting. Books are often available for discounted purchase that club coordinators obtain through Sherman’s Maine Coast Books and Better World Books or can be checked out from the library.

“Book clubs encourage systematic reading, providing a structured environment and making it easy to commit to regular reading,” said Muir-Volpe. “It helps deepen understanding and promotes diverse perspectives, exposing us to differing genres and knowledge while highlighting our interconnectedness. Book club has turned us all into friends.”