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Thursday, July 21, 2016

RA for All Guest Post: Novel Tea at the Hinsdale [IL] Public Library

Today we kick off the guest posts with Emily Borsa and Maura Schoo from the Hinsdale [IL] Public Library and their Novel Tea Program.

This is a great program to engage patrons in a “book discussion” type program in a community where there is heavy book discussion saturation.  

So here are Emily and Maura to explain what they do and how it works; they even included sample handouts....

With over 45 active book clubs in town, our library hasn’t had much luck hosting the typical book discussion program.   Existing services to the local clubs include bringing in multiple copies of titles for use by the members and creating discussion guides for use during their meetings.   With so many traditional clubs already in the community, we needed to find a way to meet the needs of readers in a new way, so the Novel Tea quarterly book discussion was formed.
Two librarians, Emily and Maura, each book talk recently published books that they have read and enjoyed. It is helpful that their reading tastes differ because it gives the book talk range and variety. The discussion is then opened up to participants to share titles that they have recently read.  All attendees receive a handout with Maura & Emily’s picks, enjoy some tea and sweet treats, and the occasional raffle prize.  A follow up newsletter (created with Library Aware) compiling all of the attendees recommendations, along with any other interesting tidbits generated by the discussion, is created and emailed to the group the following week.
Our attendees tend to be avid readers who love to talk about books so the group conversation is always lively.  Everyone appreciates a chance to share their favorite authors & titles with the group.  The dialogue primarily runs itself but Maura & Emily occasionally chime in to moderate or redirect a question so everyone gets a chance to speak. This is a great program for book club members to attend who are seeking ideas for their next club read. 
This program has been a success from the very first session.  We currently max out at 15 people (and 90 minutes) and all sessions to date have been filled.   The handouts are created through Library Aware and are great because we have them linked on our website and Pinterest pages. They are very easy to pull up and print, and easy to share on social media.

Novel Tea is also portable as an outreach opportunity.   We have recently begun visiting a local assisted living facility to conduct the program to interested residents.  The discussion was a great segue way to promote the library’s homebound delivery service.  On future visits we will bring our mobile circulation tools to create/renew library cards and check out copies of the featured books to the attendees.
Local paper article: http://tinyurl.com/DoingsNVTEA
HPL website page with handouts posted: http://tinyurl.com/hplnvltea

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