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Monmouth County Library’s World Languages Book Clubs celebrate 10th year

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2011 marks the tenth anniversary of Monmouth County Library’s Literature of World Languages Program, a public forum for multilingual book discussions.


For the past decade, this unique program has celebrated the varied literary interests, backgrounds and cultural diversity of the Monmouth County population the Library serves. Literature of World Languages Book Clubs are conducted in six languages: Hebrew, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Hindi.


The program was developed and overseen by Reference Librarian Judith Wolt, who works in Library Headquarters in Manalapan. The program was honored with the New Jersey Library Association’s Library Service Award in 2003.


Each club meets at least twice a year at Library Headquarters in Manalapan to read and discuss a novel in each particular language. Some of the clubs meet more frequently. Since its inception, the book clubs have hosted about 140 discussions attended by approximately 3,000 patrons.


“This program has celebrated the varied background, literary interests, and multicultural nature of the community members. The program has allowed bilingual and foreign language- speaking patrons the opportunity to maintain language and culture in the form of literary discussions,” said Wolt. “As a result of implementing the Literature of World Language program, community members and library users recognize and appreciate the wealth of information and diversity of materials in different cultures provided by the Monmouth County Library.” The goals of the program, according to Wolt, include:


-- To reach out to new community members and involve foreign language-speaking community leaders to lead these discussions.


-- To take advantage of the Library’s foreign-language speaking librarians to select books for these discussions; and to build new foreign language collections in the Library and expand existing ones.


Each club has a moderator for their book discussions. Moderators are often volunteers from the community; several Library staff members also act as moderators.


For example, the Hebrew book club moderator, Dr. Nelly Segal is an author and translator, and has been with the Library since the inception of the program. Her discussions are led on college level. Ulyana Solomko , the Russian moderator, who has been with the program as a participant and moderator for several years now, has changed the format from an all adult platform to parent/child discussions  with much success.


On the staff side, Children’s Librarian Ragini Chaturvedi moderates the Hindi book club and has gathered a group of young attendees who enjoy reading and discussing the books in their native language.


This fall, the clubs will enjoy discussions on novels such as Tehila by S.Y.Agnon in Hebrew; The Mother by Deledda Grazia, in Italian; Acupuncture Treatment Study by Dr. Sunny Shen in Chinese; Tyoma's Childhood by Nikolav Garin-Mikhaylovsky in Russian; Rukogi Nahin Radhika in Hindi; and Who Killed Palomino Molero? in Spanish.


For more information, please call the Library at 732-431-7222, or visit our webpage at


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