Since meeting at the Library’s Reading Group one evening, Anna and Natalia have been firm friends. For the latest blog in our People of the Library series, Marketing & Communications Officer Abi caught up with the pair to chat about what the Library means to them, and why it’s good to have strong opinions at a book club!
Abi: Do you remember when you first met?
Anna: Yes! I’d been going to the Reading Group for four or five months already.
Natalia: It was the first one I’d been to and we ended up sitting next to each other, talking for a few minutes before the event got started. And then it just kind of went from there! We ended up chatting afterwards.
A: I think we agreed to meet up – we realised we were in similar situations; we’d both just come back from university and didn’t know many people our own age. It was really nice to meet someone that had similar interests, so we thought ‘yeah let’s go for coffee’ and then obviously we carried on going to the Reading Group together!
Abi: What first brought you to the Library?
Natalia: I started coming here regularly after I finished my A Levels, checking out all of Mya Angelou’s books and doing loads of reading over the summer. It wasn’t until I came back from university that I started coming regularly again.
Anna: I moved to Guernsey in 2017 and didn’t know anyone - I’d never even been to the island before. Someone said to me that I should check out the Library because it’s really good. I came in here and was like, ‘wow, this is available to everyone?’ When I was on my summer holidays from university I would sit and do lots of work in the Hayward Room.
Someone said to me that I should check out the Library because it's really good. I came in here was like, 'wow, this is available to everyone?'
Abi: Do you have any favourite parts of the library service?
Anna: I mainly check out books, come to the Reading Group and use the study space. I’m awful at concentrating on stuff at home so I come here, it’s such a lovely space. I love the Hayward Room, sitting up on the top on the mezzanine to work. I love this too [pointing to the Nook we’re sitting in] it reminds me of uni. You can put your headphones in, plug your laptop in, and you’re kind of in your zone.
Natalia: I love using the reservations service. I have a huge list on my library account of all my favourites so I’ll reserve the one I want and come and pick it up when it’s ready. I started listening to audiobooks because my dad had always listened to them and he said I should give it a go. So, I started using BorrowBox and Libby last year – I listened to all the Harry Potter books read by Stephen Fry, I absolutely loved it, it was like reliving my childhood. And then I listened to Becoming by Michelle Obama, read by her, and I felt like I was getting life advice for 18 hours, it was amazing.
Abi: What do you enjoy about the Reading Group?
Natalia: I joined because I’ve always loved books, and reading. My mum always made sure I had a little pile of books that were mine, and I’ve always enjoyed talking about them. I thought I’d just give it a go and I kept coming back because Adam and Jodie (who run the group) make it really fun and engaging. It’s not too super serious, and everyone has different view points which makes it interesting.
Anna: I joined because I’d just finished an English Literature degree and I love the seminar aspect of talking about books. It was really nice coming into a situation where you could have really comfortable, open dialogue with a wide demographic of people, people whose opinions you wouldn’t get otherwise. After 3 years of a degree where I had to read 3 books a week, I felt I was just done, I didn’t want to read anymore. But then to feel like I had this one book every month that we were going to read and have a really interesting discussion about it, was a good way of getting back into reading again.
It was really nice coming into a situation where you could have really comfortable, open dialogue with a wide demographic of people
Abi: What are you reading at the moment that you would recommend?
Natalia: The book I’ve read this year that I would recommend to others is The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. It’s one of those books where not a lot happens but somehow there’s absolutely exquisite storytelling.
Anna: My recommendation would be The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, which is probably my favourite book of all time. It reminds you to consider the way your actions impact on others and think about the world in a wider sense. It’s something we should all do a lot more.
Want to join the Reading Group? Find out more here.
Read more from our People of the Library series here.