Now that the BDC has a staff of 2.5 people, it is within the realm of do-ability to begin a local history book club provided that there is sufficient interest to justify the staff time necessary to make it a successful venture.
Lots of public libraries host book clubs and some of my colleagues here have been conducting book clubs for years. Occasionally they include a non-fiction local history title or two and they've even asked me to go to their club with special collection materials on their topic of the day. Sometimes a community group has asked for information about a particular local history book. In these ways, I've got packages for Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter edited by Theodore Rosengarten, Correct Mispronunciations of Some South Carolina Names by Claude and Irene Neuffer, The Great Sea Island Hurricane by Bill and Fran Marscher and Sea Island Lady by Francis Griswold (which is a historical novel rather than straight history).
Through the years, I've had plenty of authors come talk about their work. Here are just some of the titles and authors that have been highlighted in a BDC@ The Branches program within the past 7 - 10 years are:
- Battle of Port Royal by Mike Coker
- Be Free or Die by Cate Lineberry
- Bridging the Sea Islands's Past and Present by Larry Rowland & Stephen Wise
- Coffin Point by Baynard Woods
- Court-Martial at Parris Island by John Stevens
- I Walked in Santa's Boots by Jack Gannon
- Jackpot by Jason Ryan
- Last Ferry to Beaufort by Charles Wersler
- Lowcountry Voodoo A to Z by Carole Longmeyer
- Northern Money, Southern Land edited by Stephen Hoffius and Robert Cuthbert
- The Other Mother by Teresa Bruce
- A Place Called Home by Sonny Bishop
- Rebellion, Reconstruction and Redemption by Larry Rowland & Stephen Wise
- Stinking Stones and Rocks of Gold by Shep McKinley
- Yankee Scholar edited by James Hester
Any of these titles would make for an interesting topic of discussion. The range is from drug running to phosphate mining, to voodoo after all. Of course, we would not be limited to just the above titles. There are certainly plenty of potential local history related titles to discuss. There are sufficient biographies, recipe books, personal memoirs, etc. All one need do is stroll by the Local History section in any of our Branch Libraries to get ideas for fruitful reading and thoughtful examination. In fact, if you'd like to suggest a title or two, send the titles to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think that once a month or perhaps even once every other month might work best for a group discussion. There's nothing to say that we'd even have to hold the Book Club outside the BDC Research Room on the 2nd floor of the Library building in Beaufort - or even that we couldn't go all out and do a live session on this Facebook page. If there's enough interest, perhaps we could hold a session at other library locations. There's no reason for anyone - BDC staff or book club participants -- to knock ourselves out and get all stressed. This supposed to be an educational - but fun - program series.
Before I get too deep into learning how to start a book club since I've never led one, I'd like to know if there are 6 to 12 people in Beaufort County, SC who would be interested in joining a local history book club to start in September. Please send me an e-mail to email@example.com if you'd like to be involved.