In the Springfield area and surrounding communities there are many book clubs. However the book clubs are virtually impossible to find. There are few advertisements for the book clubs or even announcements.
For college students it is a struggle to find the proper book club through the traditional college student methods, Google and Yahoo! Upon visiting the libraries in the area several book clubs emerge, however not all book clubs are age-appropriate for college students.
Most book clubs have a maturer (older) audience or, in the case of the most publicized book clubs, a much younger audience. The easier to find book clubs are for small children, Dubois and Fairview Elementary School book clubs, designed to increase literacy and for teenagers, the Mayor’s Book Club.
Jackie Barber heads the “Bite Into a Good Book” book club in Chatham and she said their group members range from 45 to 95 years old. However, she says they welcome college students and anyone else wishing to join a book club. Barber said her book club is open to all Chatham Library patrons and members of the Springfield community as well. There is no cost and Barber said they just ask people to bring themselves a sack lunch.
Barber said there has been a rise in popularity for book groups because “a lot of people see things about book groups in periodicals and on Oprah.” She said people are beginning to see and learn a lot more about book clubs and that encourages them to join. Chris Wyant, of the LRH Book Club on campus, said, “I think we as a society don't talk about what we read enough. Book clubs are great experiences because they allow us to learn from what we read, but also we learn more about the text based on how others in the group experience it as well.
Wyant said the LRH book club has operated for the past two semesters, reading “The Life of Pi” and “The Great Gatsby.” Wyant said because of time limitations he was unable to do the book club this semester but hopes to do one later in the semester if the opportunity arises.
Another book club that students may find to be age appropriate for them on campus is the Center for Teaching and Learning Book Club. Nikki Overcash and Jennifer Dick Thomas started the CTL book club. Overcash said they started the book club because “We just wanted to have a book club that anyone on campus could come to. We also wanted to encourage students who may otherwise not come to the CTL to stop by.”
The CTL book club began this semester and Overcash said they have not had many members because of scheduling conflicts but they hope to have more in April. Overcash also said, “This is our first semester doing the book club so really what we've done is selected three books (one for February, March and April) and sent out flyers listing the books.”
Overcash said their goal for the future is to have the members help choose the book. She also said to join the group, students are asked to e-mail the CTL or read the book for the month and come into the office.
Their last meeting of the semester will be on April 19 at noon. The book for April is “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion. Overcash said, “ This book club is beneficial because it gives students the opportunity to read books other than their textbooks. It also allows books lovers to meet other book lovers on campus and build a literary community.”
UIS Starlettes are now under new leadership
By Janee Mitchell - Feature Writer
Kelly Aylesworth, head coach of the UIS cheerleading team and mascot, is now the coach of the UIS Starlettes dance team. The change was said to incorporate a traditional collegiate dance style.
Aylesworth said there isn’t really a difference between the traditional dance style and the dance style the Starlettes have already been using, “it’s not that there’s a difference, it’s that we plan to expand and build on it,” she said.
Aylesworth said, “I would love to see the entire program grow.” She also said that this change for the Starlettes will be beneficial for the campus community because “there might be former dancers on campus who don’t know that we have this opportunity for them to be involved in the life and atmosphere on a college campus. This is also a great recruiting tool for UIS with so many wonderful high school programs to pull from.”
Aylesworth also said she would like to see a variety of dance styles utilized at the basketball games because “the audience is so varied and you have to entertain people of all ages. We want fans to attend games and get the whole package…great ball playing, fun fans and talented spirit teams entertaining and adding to the atmosphere.”
Aylesworth mentioned three key components in her plan for the Starlettes–exposure, growth and talent. In focusing on these components, Aylesworth said she wants to gain exposure for the Starlettes on campus, in the state and local community.
Aylesworth said, “This will lead to growth in the program not only in team size but also in how the campus embraces and supports them. All of this will improve the talent base of the team offering us the ability to showcase different dance styles and more difficult moves.”
In her initial interview for the head coaching position of the cheerleading team, Aylesworth said she volunteered to coach the dance team as well. She is an experienced cheerleader, coach and tumbler, having gained experienced from Lincoln College and Eastern Illinois University. Aylesworth has taken on the position as coach of the UIS Starlettes and will continue as coach of both the cheerleading team, and the mascot as well.
Aylesworth said, “We want to give students every opportunity to join (the dance team). Dance team is open to anyone who wants to participate. If you enjoy dancing and want to improve your skills, we want to get you involved.” The spring tryouts are already over, but Aylesworth said the team would recruit during the summer and hold more tryouts in the fall.