A new digital reading club will let Portsmouth's book-loving residents enjoy the social benefits of reading while following social distancing rules.
Portsmouth City Council is starting a virtual reading group for adults. The group will meet monthly on digital teleconferencing app Zoom to talk about a book that has been chosen for the reading club, with support from a library staff member to support the group for the first three months.
Cllr Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture and City Development & Deputy Leader, said: "A shared interest in reading is a great way to get to know other people and the new reading club is a great opportunity to meet other book lovers in Portsmouth and make new friends without leaving the house. When unable to socialise in the usual ways and meet new people, this will be a fantastic chance to escape the current routines to discuss a book from the comfort of your own home.
"The reading group will be limited in numbers so don't delay getting in touch to join.
"As soon as we have the group confirmed, a book will be selected that all in the group will read at the same time to discuss at the monthly meeting."
Readers can download the chosen book from ebook app Borrowbox. Book lovers looking to join the club will also need to know how to use Borrowbox and Zoom to participate. Residents interested in participating should email email@example.com.
The Reading Agency recently conducted a survey to mark National Reading Group Day on Saturday 20 June. It revealed that a reading club is a fantastic outlet to discuss varied topics and can be a supportive environment.
National Reading Group Day also fell on the first day of Independent Bookshop Week (20 - 27 June) run by the Booksellers Association.
The library service has a number of programmes which aim to get residents reading for pleasure and create opportunities for them to meet published authors and celebrate books.
Portsmouth City Council is reopening three public libraries and the mobile library on Monday 6 July. The library service will also continue to work with HIVE Portsmouth to offer a delivery service.
Access to services may change as national guidance and restriction change, so for the latest information, visit the council's coronavirus webpage.