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Book Clubs for Adults and Teens with Special Needs To Launch Throughout New Jersey

Pamela Brooks

Monday, April 14, 2014 • 10:31am

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Starting this September, six New Jersey public libraries will offer an innovative service to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through NCBC4NL (Next Chapter Book Club for New Jersey Libraries). Library staff members, working with local volunteers will operate weekly Next Chapter book clubs in cafes and bookstores in their communities.  Scotch Plains Public Library has received a contract from LibraryLinkNJ to steer the initiative, with training and support based on Scotch Plains Public Library’s six years of experience running two successful Next Chapter groups.

The six libraries which will launch clubs in the fall of 2014 are:

  • Camden County Library, Voorhees
  • Cherry Hill Public Library
  • Eastern Branch, Monmouth County Library, Shrewsbury
  • Middletown Public Library
  • Wayne Public Library
  • Woodbridge Public Library

The premise is simple: A group of five to eight people with intellectual or developmental disabilities gather with facilitators in a local café to read aloud and discuss a book for one hour a week. The Next Chapter Book Club (NCBC) offers weekly opportunities for adults and teens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to read and learn together, talk about books, and make friends in a relaxed, community setting.   

A program of The Ohio State University Nisonger Center, NCBC was established in June 2002 to provide adolescents and adults with IDD – regardless of reading ability – the chance to be members of a book club.  NCBC has become the preeminent program of its kind.  Although there are NCBC programs in over 100 cities across North America and Europe, only a handful of libraries nationwide participate. NCBC4NL is the first library-led effort in the country to establish statewide Next Chapter Book Clubs.

“We are thrilled to have the six selected libraries join us in this most meaningful effort," said Meg Kolaya, Scotch Plains Public Library Director. "Our clubs provide fellowship and social involvement for all participants, including a most gratifying experience for my library staff members who take part. I am very hopeful this pilot group of libraries will be the impetus for additional public libraries to join this endeavor in the future. Our mission is to serve all members of our community equally and fairly, regardless of any individual's personal issues or needs. Next Chapter Book Club does this well, modeling inclusion to others in our community.”

Cheryl O’Connor, LibraryLinkNJ Executive Director, shares, “LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative, awarded the contract to the Scotch Plains Public Library because their excellent proposal demonstrated expertise. The Next Chapter Book Club for New Jersey Libraries addresses a major need in the Statewide Strategic Plan for the Future of Libraries in New Jersey: libraries must develop programs and services to address changing user and community needs, including new citizens and the differently-abled. We look forward with excitement to the results of these six library initiatives!!”

More information about NCBC4NJL can be obtained by contacting Pamela Brooks at Scotch Plains Public Library, and at:

http://www.scotlib.org/2014/02/next-chapter-book-club-goes-statewide/

 http://librarylinknj.org/projects/NCBC4NJL

General information about Next Chapter Book Club can be found at:

http://chaptersahead.org/what-we-do/next-chapter-book-club/

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