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posted: 2/7/2013 12:42 PM

Aurora University's online book club gains readers

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By Al Benson
Aurora University

In its first 10 days online, a Facebook-based book club sponsored by librarians at Aurora University's Phillips Library has attracted 56 readers -- and the club is growing.

"The university library staff is passionate about reading and knows many Aurora University students are, too," said Amy Manion, information service librarian. "To encourage dialogue among students and the AU community, the librarians started a virtual book club through Facebook."

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Unlike traditional book clubs, the library's club does not have a specified meeting place and time. It is open to everyone, and club members are not required to read assigned books by a deadline. Interested readers can participate at their convenience on the Phillips Library Facebook page.

Participants simply answer questions about books they are reading or have read or about reading in general.

Since the club was launched Jan. 15, librarians have been posting a question daily for readers to answer.

During the first month, the club is also being used to recruit models and their books for the library's annual READ posters.

Two Aurora students who participate in the club by Thursday, Feb. 14, will have a chance to be photographed for one of this year's four READ posters.

"I'm surprised at the level of participation we've already had," Manion said. "After only 10 days, we claimed 56 'members' -- that's how many different people have answered our questions.

"A core group of members have answered every question so far. Most respondents are students, but we've also seen answers from our faculty, staff and administrators, and even some alumni."

Questions that drew many responses included queries about favorite books read as a child, the first book that made them cry, and the best book they've ever read for class.

"We plan to continue the virtual book club after the READ contest is over, but on a weekly, rather than a daily basis," Manion said. "The AU community is really enjoying this. One student messaged me after the first day and said she loved this idea and couldn't wait for more questions.

"Now if we could only figure out a way to serve virtual refreshments!"

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