A library is being built in Dowling Park. But the locals aren’t waiting until the future Jo Kennon Dowling Park Public Library opens to get excited about books and library programs. Inside the Phillips Center, just down the road from the library’s construction site, the Dowling Park Suwannee River Regional Library (SRRL) Book Club has been meeting monthly since September 2015.
The group meets in one of Advent Christian Village’s meeting rooms and the atmosphere is welcoming and friendly, complete with coffee, breakfast pastries and name placards at their seats so everyone can call them by name.
Last month, they gathered to discuss The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The facilitator, SRRL Librarian Rhoda Odom, arrived and quickly started the meeting by asking for everyone’s opinion of this month’s book. The meeting was full of observations, shared passages, and lots of laughter. The mood of the group was genial, friendly and lighthearted. No matter the sentiments about the book, the group clearly enjoys getting together.
Rhoda then asked discussion questions suggested by the publisher. Following the discussion questions, she introduced next month’s book. Each meeting, she brings with her copies of the next book to lend to the participants. Last month, there was even a copy on audio and a large-print edition.
Rhoda has been a librarian with the Live Oak Suwannee River Regional Library for three years. She also leads a similar book club in Live Oak, but she says that the Dowling Park group has a “super good turn out.” Normally, there are around 15 attendees.
Attendee Earl Johnson, an Advent Christian Village member and avid reader, is glad the book club is meeting in Dowling Park. He is an avid reader and particularly enjoyed an earlier book they read, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.
When asked about the new Dowling Park branch being built, Rhoda says she is excited. Western Suwannee County shares her excitement and is looking forward to the building’s completion in the fall.