Talking books: Building community and supporting wellness


Discover the power of reading! Learn how talking about books provided stress relief, strengthened community and contributed to participants’ overall wellbeing. Librarians Melissa Smith and Carolyn Caseñas will also share their key strategies and partnerships that led to their program’s success. During the SFU’s initial remote work period, Surrey campus faculty and staff would meet regularly to maintain a sense of community. From this grew the SFU Surrey Book Chat, a monthly online meeting where participants discussed recently read books or books related to the month’s theme. Co-facilitated by 2 librarians from SFU Surrey’s Fraser Library and a campus staff member, the book chats fulfilled the need for safe social gatherings around a shared interest and acted as a constructive way to deal with pandemic related stress. At the same time, the book chats provided Fraser librarians the opportunity to solicit book suggestions for the popular reading collection, network without networking (informal networking), raise the Fraser Library’s profile in the university, and support and amplify local EDI initiatives, thereby strengthening Fraser Library’s connection to the Surrey Campus community. While the SFU Surrey Book Chat is currently dormant, we have learned that a program’s success is not always measured by the number of participants or its longevity. The resulting relationships and framework to revive and reinvent the program to suit prevailing needs will serve Fraser Library in the long term.

Jun 6, 2022 10:00 AM