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Celebrity book clubs and public libraries : opportunity and threat?

McMenemy, David (2007) Celebrity book clubs and public libraries : opportunity and threat? Library Review, 56 (5). pp. 353-357. ISSN 0024-2535

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Reading groups have become a very popular past-time for many people in countries throughout the world. The ability to meet with like-minded souls and discuss literature transforms the act of reading from a solitary one to a community one, thus enriching the enjoyment gained. The popularity of such groups has been enhanced by key television celebrities using part of their regular shows to include a book club slot, leading to book promotion on a large scale. Notably Oprah Winfrey in the USA and Richard and Judy in the UK have become important figures in literature promotion as a result, able to significantly impact on the sales of a title that they choose as part of their club. Public libraries are also finding that such initiatives aid them in the promotion of reading to their communities. Yet how should we see celebrity book clubs in terms of librarianship, opportunity, or a threat to our professional judgement?