LOGAN TWP. — Freeholder Lyman Barnes said that the members of the Logan Book Club from the Logan Township Branch of the Gloucester County Library System already know what is going to happen tomorrow – in Queensland Australia.
It was 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday in June in Logan Township and 9:30 a.m. on Thursday in Logan, Queensland, Australia when the library book clubs in Logan Township, New Jersey and Logan City, Queensland, Australia met live for the first time via FaceTime.
“Our libraries can make the world come together,” said Barnes, Liaison to the Gloucester County Library System (GCLS). “These two groups have been communicating via traditional mail, email since 2011, and now in real time over the internet. The love of books and the power of our libraries can bring together communities from two sides of the earth and allow people to share their lives and cultures,” said Barnes.
Library Assistant Donna McDonald of the North Branch of the Logan City Library in Queensland sent an email to Carolyn Oldt, Branch Manager at the GCLS Logan Township Branch in 2011. That group came up with the idea of establishing a relationship with a “sister city” in another country. Searching on the internet for a community similar to their own, McDonald came across the Logan Township Branch of the Gloucester County Library System, which was a library comparable to her own, serving a suburban area with a similar sized population.
At the start, the two librarians simply exchanged lists of books and discussion questions. They found that their clubs were reading similar books, sometimes even the same books. The two groups eventually exchanged short videos, in which the members introduced themselves and described their favorite book genres. Over time, friendships have blossomed. The groups exchange holiday greeting cards and small gifts.
Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said that he applauded the friendship between the book clubs in Logan Township, New Jersey and Logan City, Queensland Australia. Damminger said, “It is heartwarming to know that the Logan Branch of the library has been such a place of community and exploration where friendships now extend across the world. I hope this is the beginning of something for other clubs to consider.”
The Logan Township Book Club has received a tourism guide to Logan City and an autographed gift book of photos of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city. A few members of the groups have become pen pals, sharing not only book reviews but family news as well.
According to Oldt, the Logan Township Library’s Book Club is now considering the possibility of visiting their Australian counterparts in person sometime in the future. For information about any of the Gloucester County Library System branches and programs visit www.gcls.org<http://www.gcls.org>.