Monday, March 28, 2016

North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Members of the North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club 
celebrating their fifth anniversary during the February meeting

Julia Horne, a breast cancer survivor, looks forward to attending the monthly meetings of the North Avondale Branch Library Chapter Chatters Book Club.

On February 23, 2011, the book club held its first meeting chatting about The Help and has continued gathering monthly at the North Avondale Library, discussing African American-themed books recommended by its members or chosen from best-seller lists and talk shows.

Lillie Cole, Kingston Neighborhood Association president and a Chapter Chatters member who at age 79 is the club’s mother figure, says the club is “like family,” celebrating birthdays and expressing condolences when members lose loved ones. “We have members from all over. We are a true melting pot of Birmingham,” she said.

Overall, the members have enjoyed making new friends over the past five years. Through these meetings, friendships have been developed and life experiences have been shared all while discussing a variety of literature by talented, new, and exciting authors. Ellarine Stroud enjoys the club so much that she changes her work schedule to attend monthly meetings.

The club’s members are a feisty bunch ranging in age from the early 40s to 79. The members who gather monthly at North Avondale Library come from cities across metro Birmingham—McCalla, Bessemer, Center Point, Forestdale, and Hueytown. Several Birmingham communities are represented, including Penfield Park, Bush Hills, downtown Birmingham, Huffman, Kingston, Powderly, and North Avondale.

Members of The North Avondale Library Chapter Chatterers are: Omelia Bailey, Georgia M. Blair, Lillie Cole, Gwendolyn B. Welch, Claudia Marks, Julia Horne, LaTonya Reynolds Cox, Ellarine Stroud, Linda D. Cox, Dora U. Sims, Bettie Griggs, Veronica S. Gossom, Lucretia Quinn, and Saundra Ross, library branch manager of the North Avondale Library. They include retirees and working members.

In addition to discussing books, North Avondale Chapter Chatters also occasionally holds talks with authors. Best-selling Birmingham author Vanessa Davis Griggs has visited the club, and author Sherelle Green has participated via conference call and sent a gift bag of new book titles to be used as prizes. Tayari Jones, Hurston-Wright Legacy Award winner, was so impressed that she mailed autographed book plates and book marks for each club member.

Chapter Chatters members Linda Cox, Claudia Marks, LaTonya Reynolds-Cox, and Lucretia Quinn said belonging to the club has been a blessing. “We pray together, laugh, cry and support each other,” they all agreed.

Members of the Children's Picture Book Club discussing
their book of the month during their February meeting
Saundra Ross said she looks forward to hearing the lively discussion at the monthly adult Chapter Chatters Book Club. Marie Nash, library assistant, wanted to start a book club for children so she collaborated with Ross to develop the Children's Picture Book Club. In November, the North Avondale library began hosting the Children's Picture Book Club where a group of neighborhood students meet every second Wednesday after school. They discuss books based on the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

Their first book was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. “The children’s book club is a great way to encourage group reading and to get children to practice their analytical skills,” Ross said. “I’m most proud when they read and then express to me what they’ve learned and how this new knowledge relates to them personally.”

The North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, March 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Children's Picture Book Club will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, April 13, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. If interested in attending, call Saundra Ross at the library at 205-592-2082.

Chapter Chatters is among at least seven book clubs that meet monthly in five of BPL’s 19 library branches, including two each at both the North Avondale Branch and the Springville Road Regional Branch Library.

BPL Book Clubs 
North Avondale Branch Library
The North Avondale Library Chapter Chatters Book Club meets the last Wednesday each month at 10:30 a.m. (except November & December). The group discusses both fiction and nonfiction titles. For more information, contact Saundra Ross at 205-592-2082 or

The Children's Picture Book Club meets the second Wednesday each month at 3:30 p.m. It is comprised of school-age children. For more information, contact Saundra Ross at 205-592-2082 or

Powderly Branch Library
The Powderly Library Maturing Minds Book Club meets the third Friday each month at 10:00 a.m. The group enjoys reading both fiction and nonfiction titles. For information, contact Loretta Bitten at 205-925-6178 or

Smithfield Branch Library
Library Learning Adventures meets on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 10:00 a.m. The group discusses both fiction and nonfiction titles. For more information, contact Yolanda Hardy at 205-324-8428 or

Springville Road Regional Branch Library
The Afterthoughts meet the third Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. for a discussion of selected nonfiction work. For titles, contact Kelly at or 205-226-4083.

The Reading Roadies meet at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. They read and discuss fiction titles chosen by the group and welcome all adult and young adult readers. For more information, please contact Kelly Laney at 205-226-4083 or

Wylam Branch Library
Wylam Book Group meets the third Wednesday of each month at 11:00 a.m. Popular fiction and nonfiction books are read and discussed. For more information, contact Jean Shanks at or 205-785-0349.

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