The Fort Worth Public Library started a virtual book club soon after the pandemic started. That book club, which they didn’t know would be so popular, now has more than 500 members around the world.
“It was an idea we had tossed around before, but obviously the pandemic changed our priorities a little bit and bumped that up on the list. We decided to try it. No time like the present,” Jana Hill, adult services manager of the library said.
Hill said the Stay At Home Book Club has grown in popularity because there isn’t the pressure of your standard book club to make sure you have read everything on time. It’s more of a community of people who love reading and are finding some extra time to interact safely with others.
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“We average 132 active members every day on the Facebook page,” Hill said.
“We specifically select books where we can have unlimited users for the digital books. So either the e-book or audiobook. We always have the print versions too. We recognize that adulthood is challenging in normal circumstances. Even more so now. We have lots of parents working, medical workers, people who work very different schedules who wouldn’t be able to come to a traditional book club, but they can long in and read when they can. If life gets too busy, you can just pause and come back when you have time,” Hill said.
People who have a Fort Worth Public Library card can access all of the online materials, including e-books for free. Those who live outside the area and want access to those same materials need a library card which is $50 for the year.
"People don't have to go through us though. Quite a few of our readers simply go to their own local libraries and get access to the books there," Hill said.