Quick Reads Book Group in Watford
Together with BBC Three Counties Radio and Watford Learning Partnership, Beverley Small from Hertfordshire Library Service helped to start a book group in the autumn of 2006 as part of the BBC RaW Campaign. Their initial hook was to hold meetings at Watford FC, and at the first meeting they offered a tour of the club and the opportunity to meet Watford player and Reading Champion Malky Mackay for those who read the first book and came back to the next meeting.
Watford Central Library is now their main venue but they also meet at West Herts College - the fourth regular partner in the Book Group - if they need a larger venue. When they started it was impossible to tell if anyone would turn up from meeting to meeting. They now have a fairly regular turnout of between eight and twelve members and meet eight times a year.
The group pick a Quick Read and try to organise a speaker or activity for each meeting, preferably linked to the book. They publicise the event in the library, on the radio and through other learning contacts and community organisations in Watford. Seven members took part in the Six Book Challenge and five completed it following a launch event attended by Quick Reads author Mick Dennis in January 2009.
"I enjoyed the books and now reading has become a lasting pleasure in my life," said one Challenge completer from the group. "I wasn't an avid reader but because of the Challenge I sure am."
Hertfordshire Libraries have now started a new Quick Reads Book Group in Oxhey with the Three Rivers Learning Partnership and community charity ASCEND - part of an initiative between learning partnerships in the county and Hertfordshire Libraries to launch more groups.