Monthly book clubs at all four middle schools are proving popular during lunch time thanks to a partnership with the Bellingham Public Library.
The lunch time book club started as an idea in 2013, when the Kulshan Middle School library media specialist reached out to Jennifer Lovchik, the teen services librarian at the Bellingham Public Library. The book club launched at Kulshan that year. The club was so popular, the next year Lovchik expanded the book club to Shuksan Middle School and by 2015 all four middle schools were participating. Lovchik visits one school each week, making the rounds to all four middle schools during the month.
“Lunch time book groups are one of my favorite parts of my job,” Lovchik said. “I love hearing the enthusiasm and joy the students have for books and characters. Their energy is infectious!”
Lovchik said she learns about what resonates with students, both developmentally and interest-wise.
“I encourage discussion of multiple mediums from the teens I work with because the best way to connect with tweens and teens is through their own interests and passions,” said Lovchik. “I’ll bring movies and video games into our discussions, too. All are part of storytelling and all can inform our world.”
During the club meetings, students bring their lunch to the library and talk books. Every meeting has a theme which guides discussion, then students share their favorite books. Each club ends with Lovchik raffling off free advanced reader copies of new books which she receives from Village Books. The book club is open to everyone.
“I think reading is important as part of a person’s intellectual and emotional development no matter the reader’s age,” said Lovchik. “A reader learns so much when engaged in a book: language, history, sociology, interpersonal communication, to name a few.”
Lovchik said more than anything, she hopes the lunch time book club encourages students to stay engaged in reading through middle school and beyond.