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Libraries launch book-club-in-a-bag program

Book club members or people interested in starting their own book clubs can now get everything they need in one bag.

This week, Jackson County Library Services began offering Book Club in a Bag kits for patrons to check out.

Each kit contains at least 10 copies of a book, biographical information about the author and suggested discussion questions. Many kits also include two large print books, an audio book version and a DVD.

JCLS Public Services Librarian Amy Blossom said such kits have been offered at libraries in other parts of the country, and local librarians wanted to start a Book Club in a Bag program here.

"I think it's going to be so popular," Blossom said. "There's so much interest."

Book club members can check out kits for six weeks. They can also reserve selected titles up to six months in advance.

For more information on how to use the Book Club in a Bag program and to reserve a kit, visit www.jcls.org.

The kits will be stored at the Medford library branch, but will be delivered to libraries in surrounding towns for pick-up when patrons reserve kits. The kits can also be returned at outlying branches.

Blossom said the program was made possible by the efforts of librarians — especially Laura Kimberly, manager of the Medford branch — and fundraising from the Friends of the Ashland Public Library and Friends of the Medford Library.

The contents of the kits have also been supplemented by donations of gently used books by individuals and book club groups that have finished reading their own copies, Blossom said.

JCLS has 68 titles represented in the kits and plans to add 30 more titles in the next few months. Librarians are also building up the number of kid and young adult titles, Blossom said.

Books offered in the kits range from current bestsellers to literary classics, including:

  • "Alan Turing: The Enigma" by Andrew Hodges. This nonfiction book that was the inspiration for the film "The Imitation Game" is a story about World War II, mathematics, computers, cryptography and homosexual persecution.
  • "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. A blind French girl and a German boy try to survive in occupied France during WWII.
  • "Divergent" by Veronica Roth. The heroine in this dystopian young adult novel must choose among five predetermined factions that will define her identity for the rest of her life, yet she doesn't fit in with any of them.
  • "Girl on a Train" by Paula Hawkins. A woman sees something shocking while riding a commuter train and becomes inextricably entwined in others' lives.
  • "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee. The release of this first-draft, unpublished version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" has generated controversy.
  • "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel. After humanity is almost wiped out by a contagious disease, a roving Shakespearean theater company risks danger to bring entertainment to scattered settlements.
  • "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova. A cognitive psychology professor at Harvard faces a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
  • "Twelve Years a Slave" by Solomon Northrup. This nonfiction book was the inspiration for the devastatingly powerful film of the same name.
  • "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed. After facing tragedy, a young woman tries to find herself on a 1,100-mile hike that includes a stop in Ashland.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.