One of the services of our libraries is supporting book clubs by getting multiple copies of a single title to distribute to the members of the book club. A few years ago this involved searching the State Library database and then calling or e-mailing libraries in order to borrow enough copies.
Over a year ago, the State Library added new software to manage Interlibrary Loans, and it became possible to make a single request for multiple copies of a title through the State Library, which made it so much easier to procure books for a book club. However, the books still arrived individually on the State Library vans and needed to be kept track of as they were loaned out and eventually returned to their home library.
The New Hampshire Library Association has improved this process with the establishment of the Books-To-Go program. The Association selects titles to support book clubs and discussion groups throughout the state. Libraries volunteer to host a “kit”, which is a canvas bag containing 15 copies of the book, including one large-print copy, discussion questions, and, if the hosting library chooses, an audio book as well.
Book clubs, discussion groups, and librarians can visit the Books-To-Go website to see what titles are available. There are currently 202 titles available through Reads-To-Go. (eventkeeper.com/kitkeeper/index.cfm?curOrg=NHLA. Click on the red button.). Once the book club decides what they’d like to read and discuss, they can request that title through their library. The kits then travel to and from libraries on the State Library Interlibrary Loan vans.
During the pandemic, the State Library vans were not running, but some libraries made their kits available to groups as long as someone was willing to drive to that library to pick up the kit. Thanks to those libraries and Zoom, the Andover Book Club was able to meet fairly regularly during this time of COVID.
The Library Trustees and the Andover Librarians decided to support this program by having our libraries become a Kitkeeper. We contacted Reads-To-Go to choose one of their recommended titles, and we purchased the books and the audio book CD. We will soon be loaning out our kit of Anne Patchett’s best-selling novel The Dutch House.
Please let either librarian know if you would like to join our book club, or if you’d like to start your own book club! Our current book club is a general book club. There is also a book club for students at AE/MS. There are many kinds of book clubs throughout the state. Clubs can read a particular genre: classics, cookbooks, movie adaptations, non-fiction, mysteries, science-fiction, Pulitzer prize winners, etc. There are many possibilities!