Thanks to the Library and Siluria Brewing Company there are two great book clubs to choose from in Alabaster. The first is held in the Nan Abbott Meeting Room at the Library and is led by Nancy Hicks. Known as the Library Book Group, they meet the third Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m. The second is Books & Brews held at Siluria Brewing Company and hosted by Candra Shockley, the cataloging librarian. They meet the fourth Thursday of every month (schedule changes for holidays, so some are held on the fifth Thursday of the month) at 6:30 p.m. We asked Shockley a few questions about how these book clubs work.
AC: How long has the library been hosting book clubs?
Candra Shockley: For years—the people in the Library group have really formed lasting bonds and usually have a holiday party. The Books & Brews Book Club at Siluria Brewing has been going since April. They approached us to help get started, and it has turned into a lasting working relationship. We are really thankful for that.
AC: How long does each gathering last?
CS: Most of the time, meetings last an hour, sometimes an hour and a half if there’s a lot to say!
AC: Do you offer fiction and nonfiction?
CS: Both clubs read fiction and nonfiction, but they tend toward more fiction. The groups decide their titles usually a year in advance. For Books & Brews, I have strived to have a good mixture of fiction and nonfiction, as my group seems to like that variety (and I do too).
AC: Does one person lead the book club? If so what does the leader do, how do they get chosen, and does the leader have a list of questions to guide them?
CS: Book group tends to lead themselves in that they are all equal players. They bring their particular opinions and observations to share. I have been leading Books & Brews with questions that I come up with as I read. If necessary, I also research questions other people have asked about the book. Nancy Hicks is a longtime library board member, so that makes her a good candidate as leader.
AC: When can a new member join a group?
CS: If you want to join and have time to read the book before the next meeting, go ahead and pick up the book at the library or rent it using our digital services, and come to the group. If you don’t, but would like to come anyway and see what the club is like, that is also an option. Books & Brews is a good way to get started. We are low key and welcome casual observers, listeners, and those with thoughts to contribute. There is also usually a food truck available at the brewery, and of course, on-tap beverages (root beer for those who don’t drink alcohol). Book Group at the library is for a bit more serious reader. It’s your classic style book club in the library setting.
AC: How much time do you get to finish the book?
CS: A month is generally a good time frame. I have many audio book listeners in Books & Brews who like to listen while they commute to work or relax in the evening.
AC: What are some examples of books that have been discussed?
CS: Book Group has done Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus, which is being turned into a movie. Both groups have done Radium Girls, a nonfiction book by Kate Moore that was made into a movie as well. Books & Brews read Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover, and I have a few teachers and former teachers in the group, which made their perspective very interesting.
AC: How does one sign up?
CS: You can just show up! We advertise all of our meetings on the library website. No need to register.
Library Offering Free Take Home Literacy Kits to Alabaster Families
This year the Albert L. Scott Library is continuing our participation in Reimagining School Readiness (RSR) through the Alabama Public Library Service. In 2022, our library was one of the first set of libraries in the state to apply RSR concepts to programs: we have incorporated early literacy concepts centered around the critical skill sets of talk and play, body and brain, and science and math into all of our children’s programs. The state library supplied STEAM kits for check out, which we have recently begun sharing with teachers at all of our outreach centers. This year the program has been extended to allow families in our community to receive free RSR take home kits. There are four types of kits segmented by age (0-18m, 18-36m, 3-5, and 6-8). Each kit contains books, activities, and supplies. You must register to participate in the RSRP program to receive a take home kit. Registration forms can be found at the library and on the library’s website (or through participating outreach childcare centers’ administration). You are required to attend a minimum of three (3) library programming events in order to receive a RSR take home kit. Eligible programs are listed below. Take-home kits are limited to one kit per family, per age level. Families can pick up their kits at the library once they’ve attended their three required programs. The last day to claim your kit will be May 24. Kits will be distributed to students at outreach centers throughout May during regular program dates.
RSRP is sponsored by the Alabama Public Library Service, the Alabama Department of Human Resources, and the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education In collaboration with University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Eligible RSR Programs to Attend to Obtain Take Home Kits:
Teeny Tiny Time – Fridays, 10 -10:30am (Ages 0-2)
Homeschool Happening – Second Mondays at 10
Small Fry Story Time – Fridays, 10:45 – 11:15am (Ages 3-5)
January 5, 12, 19, 26
February 2, 9, 16, 23
March 1, 8, 15, 22
April 5, 12, 19, 26
Small Fry Story Time – Fridays, 10:45 – 11:15am (Program for ages 6-11, kits for 6-8)
January 8 – True Story of Miss Fancy Queen
February 12 – Common Bonds (Birmingham Photos)
March 11 – STEM with DART Family Farm
April 8 – TBA
Science Saturdays –10:30 -11:15am (Ages 6-11)
Bilingual Story Time – 3 – 3:30pm (All ages)
PJ Story Time –Second Thursdays 6:15 – 7:00pm (All ages)
Reading Circus (Program for ages 6-11, kits for 6-8)
January 17 at 4pm
Solar Eclipse Program (All ages)
April 3 at 4pm
Note: All outreach programs at outreach centers between February 1 and April 30 are eligible as RSR programs.