Waterfront: Demand for books soars on the docks

The Waterfront Book Club, in Ipswich, has launched a third monthly session to cope with demand for places from Ipswich readers.

As many libraries across the county face funding cuts, the Foundry Lane venue has reported reading is very much on the waterfront community’s agenda.

In addition to the 6pm to 7.30pm and 8pm to 9.30pm sessions on the first Tuesday of each month there will also be a Thursday slot from 6pm to 7.30pm.

The group was started in DanceEast last October initially to promote the cafe.

But book club founder and DanceEast events co-ordinator Jane Cole has had to create an extra session to keep up with the number of people who want to join.

She said: “It was getting to the stage where people couldn’t be heard when they were talking and there were just too many people at the two sessions. I have always wanted it to be somewhere people can join the discussion easily without shouting over someone else.”

For Ms Cole the growth of the club as the county’s libraries decline is an indicator there is still a need for a community reading space.

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She said: “It brings a community together and the only cost involved is that of the book we are reading. We let the libraries know the titles on our reading list in advance so they can get them ready for our readers. People still want to go along to the library and get their books there.”

She added: “Some of the titles are a bit more obscure and need to be bought.

“At the moment we are reading an Icelandic classic but sometimes we’ll do a book that’s been made into a film. The reading list is varied.”

Attendees are a mixed demographic - from students to elderly residents - but all are loyal and keep coming back. As a result, the Waterfront Book Club’s membership totals at 53.

The sessions often result in opposing conclusions on the chosen text. Ms Cole said: “The second session in particular can get quite heated.”

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