CHILLICOTHE— The Chillicothe and Ross County Library's LGBTQ+ book club, named "Friends of Dorothy," creates a safe, inclusive space for the community to gather and discuss books with LGBTQ+ authors, characters and themes.
The book club was created in January in response to requests for a similar program. The library partnered with the First Capital Pride Coalition to recruit members and advertise the event.
Liz Gibbons-Camp, Adult Services Manager for the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library, said the books are chosen based on reviews and staff suggestions. The club primarily reads fiction but aims to read a variety of genres.
"It's not about picking something that everybody's going to enjoy reading or would pick for themselves," Gibbons-Camp said. " In fact, if it's something they never would have picked up off the shelf, that's excellent, as far as I'm concerned. But things that people will enjoy talking about."
The club meets monthly at the Chillicothe-Ross County Public Library, or outside when possible. The small group openly discusses average book club topics, like morality, relationships and coming of age, as well as LGBTQ+ topics.
Cat Thatcher Bowen, Vice President of First Capital Pride, said the club has encouraged her to read books she wouldn't have otherwise. She said that this is one of the first official LGBTQ+ book clubs in existence.
The club has read books like "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker, "The House in the Cerulean Sea" by TJ Klun, and most recently, "Fingersmith" by Sarah Waters.
Ridley Tonn with the library leads the book club with discussion questions and insights into the book. When choosing a book each month, they try to find diverse books.
"I try to get a variety of different queer authors with different sexualities and backgrounds," Tonn said. "I look at everything, race, age, I try to pick different genres... hopefully, it gives other humans the opportunity to expand viewpoints."
Friends of Dorothy will hold its next meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 1 at the AmVets Shelter in Yoctangee Park to discuss the book "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous" by Ocean Vuoung. Contact the library at (740) 702-4145 for more information.
Megan Becker is a reporter for the Chillicothe Gazette. Call her at 740-349-1106, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @BeckerReporting
This article originally appeared on Chillicothe Gazette: Library LGBTQ+ book club creates safe-space in Chillicothe