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A great year for #SWVBC (with Libba and Lauren!)

It’s been a great year for our Somewhat Virtual Book Club.  Actually, it seems easy to forget that it’s also been the first year for the SomeWhat Virtual Book Club.

In the fall I shared that we experimented by joining several schools around the country for monthly book discussions.  Our kids were happy to make new geeky friends and were inspired by the increased variety of perspectives represented.

The Twitter hashtag #SWVBC and our Facebook page became planning spaces for organizing and for deciding on readings.

But wait, it gets better. Way better.

This spring, we attracted authors to our discussions.  Big big authors.  And it was kinda thrilling.

I approached Libba Bray via tweet prior to our discussion of Beauty Queens and she agreed to join us.

Then, Shannon invited Lauren Myracle to join our discussion of Shine.

As for my own kiddos, I don’t really think they believed me either time I told them it would happen.

And when those superstar authors entered our chat room, they literally jumped out of their seats.

Libba and Lauren were so generous, so funny, so engaging, so real.  They listened to the kids’ ideas.  They shared very personal stories. They gave so much of their time.

Here’s a little clip of the Libba Bray visit.

#swvbc meets Libba Bray from Joyce Valenza on Vimeo.

After playing around platforms for most of the year, we discovered that both Skype and Google+ Hangouts were not reliable enough for company and so we chose to use the TLCafé BlackBoard Collaborate space, generously granted us by Steve Hargadon.  It worked beautifully once everyone understood how to take turns on the mic.

Happily, fellow #SWVBC librarian, Jane Lofton in California, was able to archive much of both conversations

Beauty Queens with Libba Bray on April 25:  Fast forward to 1:47 in the recording for when Libba Bray joins us.

Shine with Lauren Myracle on May 30: Fast forward in the recording to about 17:30 to where Lauren Myracle joins us.

Shannon and I are currently discussing ways to scale these events to involve more participants. Details to come in the fall!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. It’s hard to know whether the students or the librarians had more fun with these discussions 🙂 It was an awesome experience, and I was so delighted that the Mira Costa’s Library Club was able to participate.


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