The next selection for the Bite-Sized Book Club at the Lied Public Library in Clarinda is called “13 Ways to Kill Your Community.”
Despite the title, “it isn’t a negative book,” said library director Andrew Hoppmann.
Instead, by delineating attitudes and practices that can be detrimental to a town, author Doug Griffiths seeks to advise residents on what to avoid -- and what actions can be pursued to enable the town to survive and prosper.
With such book chapters as “Ignore Your Youth,” “Shop Elsewhere,” “Don’t Cooperate” and “Become Complacent,” Griffiths’s intent is to give residents a “how not to” guide for addressing issues vital to a community.
Although the book describes “ways to ‘kill’ your community, it does present a lot of areas and ideas for growth and opportunity,” Hoppmann said. “The author takes a satirical way, but he looks at areas that [people] need to be focusing on and talking about if they want to save their community.”
Discussion of the book’s content will begin during the club’s meeting at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the library. Bi-weekly sessions are scheduled on subsequent Tuesdays after that.
Hoppmann said he hopes participants will include members of the Clarinda City Council and the Page County Board of Supervisors, along with Clarinda School District directors, administrators and students, and business owners and representatives of local economic development organizations.
“But the club is open to anyone in the community who wants to take part,” Hoppmann said. “We need to have conversations so people can not only bring their own ideas, but they can listen to ideas from others. It’s interesting to see what’s important to other people, or how they have interpreted information and how they see that it can be applied.”
The goal is to identify and implement strategies that will facilitate Clarinda’s continued growth and development.
“You don’t have to be a working professional to attend a club meeting,” Hoppmann said. “It’s for anyone who is interested in the community’s future and betterment.”
Two or three chapters from the book will be assigned for discussion at each bi-weekly session. The library can be contacted for details about upcoming meetings, and notifications can be sent to participants by e-mail also.
In addition, Hoppmann said, “you can contribute to the discussion by e-mail if you can’t attend a meeting in person.”
Some copies of the book are at the library, and it is available from online vendors like Amazon.com.
Although being familiar with what Griffith has written would provide more depth about subjects of discussion, individuals who haven’t read the book but who wish to attend club meetings can do so. “Anyone can join us in the conversation,” Hoppmann said. “They can just show up and talk, and still contribute.”
He said he was “looking forward to the discussion we can have about what’s going on in our community, and what are some ideas to, hopefully, not ‘kill’ our community.”
The book by Griffiths is the second selection for the club, which was launched in December with the reading of “Innovator’s Mindset” by George Couros.
The idea for the club, Hoppmann said, “actually came from conversations with people at the school and myself. We wanted to have a professional book club, but we really didn’t want to limit it to just professionals.”
He noted that traditional book clubs usually meet monthly, with participants giving general overviews of the book that they have been reading.
“A lot of people are busy,” Hoppmann said. “They don’t have time to come to a regular book club, or they don’t really have time to read the whole book in a month.”
So for the “Bite-Sized” format, he said, “we decided on meeting every two weeks and discussing two to four chapters. What that does is give you less to read in the timeframe, and less to discuss when you do come to the meeting. We’re not trying to cover the whole book at once, but only a few chapters at a time.”
Regarding selections for the club, “what we wanted to do was look at areas of personal or community growth with the topics that we picked, such as leadership development, listening skills, or ways to improve education for our community,” Hoppmann said.
With the club’s schedule, he added, “we can have a more robust discussion and have more time to absorb some of the concepts. Generally these books are going to be a little bit heavier in terms of your standard novel. They are going to present concepts or ideas that force you to reflect on how you can incorporate them into your personal life, business or the community.”
After the book by Griffiths has been covered, selections will be made for future club meetings.