WRL Offers New Book Groups for Lovers of Mystery, History

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The Williamsburg Regional Library
The Williamsburg Regional Library

The Williamsburg Regional Library is introducing two new book groups this fall for fans of crime and mysteries, as well as history and biographies.

Though WRL has offered book discussion groups in the past, most notably the long-running science fiction and fantasy group, these new groups will offer a slightly different reading experience.

Rather than a traditional book club in which members all read the same book and then come together to share their thoughts, the two new groups will have monthly “themes” that encompass a broad selection of books, both fiction and non-fiction, from which members can choose what they want to read.

At each meeting members will take turns briefly describing their selection before delving into thematic discussion of the range of books presented.

Library staff settled on “Crime and Mystery” and “History and Biographies” as the subjects of the new groups based largely on the libraries’ circulation numbers. Since both genres were among the most frequently requested and checked out at the the library’s two locations, they were a natural choice to make the focus of a discussion group.

Barry Trott, the special projects director for WRL, anticipates the “Crime and Mystery” group will have somewhat narrower monthly themes within the genre of crime and mystery. The inaugural meeting will focus on police procedurals.

The “History and Biography” group will focus on broader topics so as to allow readers to focus on the periods of history and regions of the world that most interest them.

The advantage to offering a less structured book discussion group is members will be exposed to a wider variety of books within a genre they already know they like, Trott said. They are also conducive to participation from a larger number of people.

“People will be able to come away with a great list of new titles they might like,” Trott said.

Each meeting will last about one hour and will be facilitated by a library staff member who will act as a moderator for the discussion.

For reading enthusiasts interested in a more independent experience, Trott cites the enduring popularity of library’s Gab Bags, which are essentially a book club in a bag.

Gab Bags include eight to 12 copies of one book along with supplementary reading material and discussion questions. Groups can check them out for up to eight weeks at a time and use them to organize their own independent book clubs if they are looking for a more traditional experience.

Between the Gab Bags and the new books discussion groups, Trott is optimistic readers will find what they are looking for at the library.

“The point of these programs is really to build community through the library,” Trott said. “The library is always looking for new ways we can build a community of readers.”

The “Crime and Mystery” group will meet on the third Wednesday of every month from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Williamsburg Regional Library. The first meeting will be held Sept. 16.

The “History and Biography” group will be held at the James City County Library on the fourth Thursday of every month from 7 to 8 p.m. The first meeting will be held Sept. 24.

Book lovers interested in keeping abreast of the latest offerings in book discussion groups, Gab Bags and other library programs can sign up for WRL’s e-newsletter by clicking here.

Pre-registration for both book discussion groups is not required but is appreciated and can be made by calling 757-259-4050.