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Glen Ellyn Public Library To Offer Next Chapter Book Club

Category: GEPL News
Posted: June 26, 2017

By: Sarah Kleiva, Outreach Librarian and Stephanie Blackwell, Marketing Coordinator

Next Chapter Book Club LogoThe Glen Ellyn Public Library believes it is important to embrace and create spaces for people of all abilities. Toward that effort, the library recently joined the Next Chapter Book Club Affiliate Network and will soon be launching a local club for the community. Next Chapter Book Club is a community-based book club for individuals with Down Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other types of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities love books for the same reasons most people do. They enjoy being transported to different worlds where they meet interesting characters and learn about exciting new things,” said Susan Berg, Executive Director of the Ohio-based Next Chapter Book Club. “Taking that journey with a group of friends makes it even more delightful and fun.”

Founded in 2002 by Dr. Thomas Fish, a professor at The Ohio State University, Next Chapter Book Club, which was awarded the Innovations in Reading Prize by the National Book Foundation in 2016, has hundred of clubs throughout North America, Australia and Europe. Clubs meet in public places, like libraries, and are comprised of four to eight members and two volunteer facilitators who are trained to engage readers of all levels – including those who cannot read or are emerging readers. Although reading skills of Next Chapter Book Club members often improve as a result of reading more often, the program is more about reading to learn, rather than learning to read. The primary focus is on having fun with friends in a public place on a regular basis.

It is important that there is something at the library for people of all abilities. The library has Sensory Saturdays for kids and Connection of Friends has structured visits with our Young Adult Librarian every other week. But we didn’t have anything unstructured and recreational designed specifically for adults. Next Chapter Book Club is social, casual and most importantly, empowers members to make choices about how their club will be run. Next Chapter Book Club’s ethos of inclusiveness, meaningful community building, and empowerment aligns with the library’s outreach and community engagement culture.

The first meetings are slated for late August. The club will meet every other week, with exceptions for holidays. The age group target for this club is older teens and adults. Interested in learning more or joining the club? Contact Sarah Kleiva at

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