David Risstrom - Greens Melbourne City Councillor 1999-2004
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ACHIEVEMENT: Five new book clubs have been established in the Cities of Melbourne and Yarra.

TARGET DATE: July 2004 PROGRESS: Achieved.

DESCRIPTION: Book clubs involve small groups of people getting together regularly to discuss a book they have read. Groups as small as four people can agree to a book they will read and to come together in the future to talk about the book and the ideas coming from it. Book clubs are a great excuse to keep meeting a group of friends and a good way to avoid watching too many repeat episodes of bad American sitcoms.

The Yarra-Melbourne Regional Library Service has established book groups in their libraries, which have been running at North Melbourne and East Melbourne libraries since the early 90’s and have taken off at the North Carlton Library in the last couple of years. There is no charge for Yarra-Melbourne Regional Library Service members to join the library book groups. Melbourne and Yarra Councils co-operate to fund the Yarra-Melbourne Regional Library Service and their libraries in both municipalities.

You can find more information about Yarra-Melbourne Regional Library Service book groups on the library website by clicking on the underlined title.

There are currently 5 groups at North Carlton that are hugely successful. The Richmond and Fitzroy libraries have established a 'genre' book group, with a focus on 'Mysteries'. The North Fitzroy Library has a 'Boys, Blokes and Books' group for boys aged 10-14 and their dads (or carers or other adults) share reading and talking about books and ideas, with the aim of encouraging this age/gender group to enjoy the world of books and all it offers. The Yarra-Melbourne Regional Library Service also has a very successful Teen Library Club at North Carlton, which encourages kids to select library materials for our Young Adult collections, which of course involves lots of reading and discussion.

The Yarra-Melbourne Regional Library Service provides the venue, staff help with getting the groups up and running and any support that is needed as they continue. The Library Service can buy some titles in multiple copies specifically for the groups.The groups themselves are the source of recommendations for this collection.

The Yarra-Melbourne Regional Library Service is investigating the feasibility of setting up an online book group, which may involve setting up a chat room at a specific time, identifying the book for discussion and having a staff member facilitate the discussion).

It may be possible for a group of your friends to decide to start your own book club and run it however you like. The Council of Adult Education sponsors book clubs that might be able to except new members and new groups. I will provide further detail on how to contact them in the future.

Bookshops in the City of Melbourne may also agree to provide discounts to book club members on the basis that more book clubs probably mean more business. I will do some legwork and get back with feedback after speaking to some shopkeepers.

FURTHER INFORMATION: This idea was prompted by meeting a group of women from North Carlton who have kept their book club going for more than 11 years. I met them at Rob and Cherie Mitchell's house during a fantastic Christmas dinner.


Cool Green Tip Of The Week -

23 April 2017: Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 -1956.

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