Book groups continue to be a popular activity combining reading, learning, and socializing, and they are a great fit with services offered by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
The very first step in finding support for your book group needs through the Library is to have a library card. If you don’t have a card, you can get one either in person at any Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh location, or apply for a card online. (If you have a card from another public library in Allegheny County, you don’t need to get a separate Carnegie Library card. Your county public library card will work just fine to check out physical materials or eBooks and eAudio.)
Having a card allows you to borrow your book club selections instead of buying copies each month. Getting a card only takes a few minutes, and it’s free if you live in Pennsylvania. You can find more details here or apply online here.
Once you have your library card, you can use it to check out or request a book from any library in Allegheny County. You can also use the card to find eBooks and eAudio through Libby (the app for OverDrive) or hoopla. To find out if we have a book in our system, you will want to search our online catalog. The easiest way to see if we have what you’re looking for is to type the title in the search bar, click on the word “Keyword” and select “Title” from the drop-down menu, then hit “Enter.”
You can also search by author, or use keyword if you can’t remember the exact title. The catalog will not only show you if we have the book in print, but also if the book is available on CD, in large print, or as an eBook or eAudio by OverDrive/Libby. If there are no copies currently available to check out, you can request the book directly from the catalog page.
Some county libraries have established discussion kits, which are bundles with multiple copies of a book that you can request to check out for your group. These kits are available in the catalog and can be found by doing a title search for a specific book, or keyword search using “book club kit” or “book club” to see what’s available.
Struggling to find a good book to read for your group? Carnegie Library can help in that regard as well. The Novelist Plus database is a great resource for book groups. To access it, go to the Library’s website at carnegielibrary.org, click on the word “Search” on the top right, type in “Novelist Plus” and hit “Enter.” Be sure the box for “Search the Site” is marked. Next, select the option for Novelist Plus, and enter your library card number to log in. Once in the database, you’ll find book group resources (under Quick Links) as well as descriptions of titles, read-alikes, and short book reviews.
You can also type in the title of a book to find a synopsis, reviews, and read-alikes.
Prefer a more personalized approach to recommendations? Use the Library’s materials match form to request book group selections provided to you by our staff. By completing the form, you can tell us what types of books your group likes, what reading experience you’re looking for, and also what you don’t want to read. We’ll use this information to make individualized suggestions of materials your book group can find in the Library or virtually as eBooks or eAudio.
We can help you, too, if you’re scheduled to host the next meeting and you’re not sure how to get the conversation going. Our Book Group Connections (BGC) service provides background material to enhance your discussion. Each kit includes author biographies, author interviews, book reviews, discussion questions when available, and any supporting information, like historical background, to add insight and understanding. Digital kits are free and can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include the title of the book you are discussing, the date of your discussion, and contact information.
Finally, if you’re not yet in a book group or you’re looking for another discussion opportunity, Carnegie Library has numerous book discussion groups that meet at various branches as well as virtually. Go to the Library’s events page and search for “book club” for more information.