A new spin on the summer book club

Kingston Frontenac Public Library takes unique approach to encourage reading

New Adult and Teen Librarian, Liz Coates, at KFPL’s Central branch.
New Adult and Teen Librarian, Liz Coates, at KFPL’s Central branch.

During the hustle and bustle of the school year, many students forget to indulge in a readily available pick-me-up: reading. 

Reading for fun, that is, and not the endless amounts of reading required for your degree.

Liz Coates has been working to implement programs at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) for young adults and students in Kingston. As the library’s the New Adult and Teen Librarian, she’s involved with the Summer Book-It List, an online and unconventional summer book club.  

“[Queen’s] libraries are great. [Students] have lots of access to research,” Coates said. “But at the public library, we offer connecting over books and reading for pleasure.”

Their unconventional reading club, the Summer Book-It List, has been running since June 13 and will end on Aug. 29. 

With the help of young adults and Queen’s students who sit on the library’s New Adult Advisory Board, KFPL has created an accessible summer reading program for the young adult age group. 

The alternative book club does away with many of the conventions of traditional book clubs. 

Firstly, there’s no set reading list. Instead, the 300 participants are given a theme for the week. The theme is posted on KFPL’s Summer Book-It List page, where participants comment and start conversations about the books they’re reading. 

For example, one of Coates’ favourite themes asked participants to comment with a book that changed their life. 

“Participants can read whatever they want to read. What they end up doing is discussing books and giving each other recommendations,” Coates said. 

By commenting on the theme, participants are entered to win for that week. A random winner will also be selected at the end of the nine weeks to win an iPad. 

Unlike traditional book clubs, the group is entirely online. 

“[The public library] isn’t just about physical books anymore,” Coates said. “Reading is what’s important … We want people to be engaged.” 

KFPL will be offering other events for students and young adults to encourage reading and connection with the Kingston community. So far, their events include literary speed-dating and Viva Voce, a storytelling event held at the downtown branch.

For more information on how to get involved with KFPL, email Liz Coates at lcoates@kfpl.ca

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