Have you read any good books lately? Those who love to read can identify with Thomas Jefferson, who once said, “I cannot live without books.” His personal library contained over 6,500 volumes. While even the most avid reader is not likely to possess that many books, the Kingsport Public Library offers thousands to satisfy readers of all ages.
Kingsport resident Katherine Harris is a self-proclaimed ‘bookworm.’
“I just love books! And I love people who love books,” she said.
Katherine has had a love for books her entire life. “My parents used to read to me every single night. So, I can blame them for this,” she laughed. Katherine’s passion for reading is evident as she talks about her job as Library Assistant in the Youth Services department. When asked what she likes most about her job, she says, “Oh my goodness, everything! I am one of those people who really believes in public libraries.”
Katherine especially enjoys the After Hours Book Club sponsored by the library. Every month, club participants read a book and meet at a local restaurant to discuss it.
Reading material for the club varies, with the current book being a science-fiction thriller for young adults called “The Knife of Never Letting Go.” The book is the first of three called the “Chaos Walking Trilogy,” which is reportedly in the process of being made into a movie. Library board members select the books for the coming year, and the schedule is available at the library for those who are interested in participating. There are no requirements for joining the group. Katherine said that most members are adults, but teens are welcome. “Anyone can come, even if they haven’t finished the book,” she said.
Joe Ewing and his family moved to Kingsport from Washington D.C. five years ago. He said it was the Kingsport Public Library that helped his family to connect with the community. One of the first places in Kingsport they visited was the library, for storytime for their four young children.
“When we moved here, proximity to the library was one of the key requirements,” Joe said. While his children enjoy the attractive, recently-renovated children’s department, Joe loves the After Hours Book Club.
“I have just loved meeting different people,” he said. “People don’t always open up and talk about life. But when you start to talk about a book, it’s fun to watch people react to it,” he added.
Katherine also enjoys the interaction that takes place at the meetings.
“I don’t feel like there’s a much deeper form of friendship than getting to talk about a book,” she said. “Discussing it with someone else, how the book affected you and how you felt about that, it’s sort of like an unofficial form of therapy.”
Katherine said the overall goal of the club is to help people connect with one another.
“It sounds really simple, but it’s hard to connect. People are so busy and there’s something about sitting down and talking about a book. It relates to so many things in your life,” she said.
The library started the book club several years ago, to not only connect people to one another, but to encourage interaction between library staff and the community.
Circulation Librarian Jonas Clubb said the library seeks to find relevant ways to serve their community. “We’re here to be a resource to the community, and programs such as the book club are one way that we do it,” he said.
The After Hours Book Club meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month. If you love to read books, join the club! The next meeting will be held Feb. 28 at Main Street Pizza Company, located at 242 East Main Street, in Kingsport. The reading schedule is available at the library. For more information about the club or other programs provided by the Kingsport Public Library, call (423) 229-9489 or go to www.kingsportlibrary.org.