For those students with a passion for reading and a desire to discover new books while sharing about their own favorites with other book lovers, there is a club that meets weekly in the Kirkwood Library, known as the Reader’s Haven.
For five years the club has met to discuss popular titles, explore new genres and meet new friends in an environment created by a student.
“The club was started in 2014 by a student who had a strong passion for reading and wanted to create a place where students could learn more about books,” said Julie Peterson, reference librarian and student advisor.
Reader’s Haven is not a club that assigns books or strictly regiments reading topics. The group is relaxed and has “always been pretty informal and based on what the current year students want to do. Typically, what has happened is the students mostly read whatever they want to read and then they come talk about it,” Peterson explained.
While there is a strong emphasis on freedom to explore new books and topics, Peterson does like to offer some guidance to help students discover new authors.
For example, there is always an interest in fantasy, so Peterson sometimes leads the discussion into new reading territory. “Sometimes there is a bit of structure…I’ll say let’s talk about your favorite science fiction or horror book…once or twice a year they will pick a book within the genre and we will all talk about it,” Peterson said.
Peterson’s involvement stems from more than her duty as a librarian. “I am very interested in getting people to read…and to help them broaden their reading tastes. Initially the group read a lot fantasy…now I try to have theme weeks so that we can look at some other things,” Peterson explained.
This year was off to a late start, the first official meeting was on Oct. 3 to begin planning for the year. The club is grown primarily by word of mouth, and those with a love of reading and sharing their favorite books is encouraged to attend and to bring others with a love for reading.
For more information, contact Julie Petersen at 319-398-5697 or Julie.Petersen@kirkwood.edu.
Reader’s Haven meets on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. in the library, located in Benton Hall.