As I write this, I am basking in the glow of Roseburg Public Library’s latest book group meeting.

The library’s Online Book Group is an opportunity to connect with fellow bibliophiles and share the books we have been reading and listening to recently. We expand our discussion to podcasts, screen adaptations and other cultural experiences, and I always end up with a long list that reflects the participants’ diverse interests.

Online Book Group is the current iteration of the Silent Book Group, which began meeting in person nearly two years ago. I started it with two goals in mind: meet new people, and commit more time to reading. At the start, attendees read any book of their choice for 45 minutes and we then talked for about 15 minutes. Once we got to know each other, we read for 45 minutes and often talked nearly as long.

Since last March, the group has found creative ways to meet, including socially distancing at Stewart Park’s Butterfly Garden during the summer.

Now we see one another on Zoom and we are not silent. Instead, we spend an hour talking, laughing and expanding our read/listen/watch lists. I always take note of what is discussed, and this month’s list included about three dozen items.

Online Book Group meets the last Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. Contact me at kwiley@cityofroseburg.org to join the email list and receive the Zoom meeting link.

The library’s other book group focuses on one author at a time and participants are encouraged to read anything by or about that person. Over about six weeks, I post videos, articles and discussion questions on the library’s closed Facebook group and we end with a Zoom meeting to discuss our reading.

The current author is Zora Neale Hurston, who probably is best known for her 1937 novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Not only was Hurston a writer, she was an anthropologist and filmmaker. All of her books were out of print when she died in 1960. Today, she is considered a literary icon.

The Zoom meeting to discuss Hurston is scheduled for Thursday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. To participate, request to join the closed Facebook group @rpl2020srp. If you do not Facebook, email me and I will loop you in to the discussion threads.

Library book groups are free and open to the public. Please consider joining us to meet new friends and expand your literary horizons.

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library. She can be reached at kwiley@cityofroseburg.org or 541-492-7051.

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