Discovering Dryden: A book club for every type of reader


The Southworth Library, 24 W. Main St, is a hub for community, entertainment, education, and family fun in Dryden. Among its many activities and events, the library’s various book clubs provide a fun (and often educational!) opportunity to socialize, discover interesting books, and make new friends.

Jennie’s Book Club is named after Jennie McGraw Fiske. Fiske was born in Dryden in 1840. With inherited wealth from her grandfather, Fiske wanted to benefit her beloved town of Dryden and honor her mother and grandfather. As an educated, cultural, and traveled individual, a library seemed just the thing. Fiske set up a trust fund for the establishment of the Southworth Library Association, whose charge was to build and upkeep a library in Dryden. With the varied genres explored, its sense of community, and fun provided by Fiske’s namesake book club, Jennie McGraw Fiske’s vision, memory, and gift to the town of Dryden is honored.

Jennie’s Book Club has varied from having just a few committed members to having over 30 readers. The books that the club reads are chosen by Library Director, Diane Pamel. Pamel tries to pick books that appeal to varying reading tastes, including historical fiction, non-fiction, and mystery. The members read the assigned book on their own time. Then the group meets every month, on the third Tuesday, 9:30 a.m., at the Southworth Library. The club shares coffee and refreshments followed by discussion and socializing around the current book. The books chosen are available through the library system. For more information or to see past titles that the group has read, visit Call or visit the library to join in and reserve your copy of the next book.

Books & Brew at Hopshire is a genre book club. This means that instead of reading a singular book together, the members read whatever they want within a chosen genre. The group is called “Books & Brew” to reflect the relaxed nature of the group, as the members can enjoy coffee, tea, or even beer, during their meetings. The Books & Brew book club meets on select Thursday nights at 7 p.m. at Hopshire Farm & Brewery, 1771 Dryden Rd, Freeville. Select a book of your choice within the genre of the month. At the meeting, enjoy provided snacks, drink brewed beverages, share your book, and perhaps discover other great reads in your favorite genres. The group has read westerns, books either set locally or written locally, science fiction, and, from the most recent genre, mysteries set in libraries or bookstores. Visit or contact the library to get involved.

The Teen Book Club is part of an American Library Association (ALA) program called Great Stories. The Southworth Library works with The William George Agency, a residential care facility in Freeville that works with youth and young adults. This club usually explores more intense themes. Last year, the group read and discussed stories pertaining to suicide. This year, the group will dive into the concept of heroes. Who is a hero? What makes a hero? With the great cooperation between the Southworth Library and The William George Agency, the group has extended their program from reading four books within a theme to exploring a chosen theme for a whole year. “It is wonderful. We have a good time doing it,” Pamel said, looking forward to the new year and new theme with this group.

For kids, the Southworth Library hosts a STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, math) book club, generally named after the book series being used. The next club is The Nick and Tesla Series and is geared towards fourth to seventh graders. The group reads the books assigned and meets for discussion, science, and fun experiments based on their reading. The club meets twice a month, on Tuesday afternoons, and collaborates with the Engineering Department from Cargill Inc, the Lansing Salt Mine, to provide science experiments overseen by a professional engineer. Check out for more information. Members must be registered to participate in this club. Contact Southworth Library to register and get involved.

Though the American Girl Book Club, a fun and informational program that was held through the Fall, will be ending in January, the Magic Tree House Book Club is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019. The Magic Tree House Club, sponsored by the Dryden Youth Opportunity Fund, will follow Jack and Annie through their various wild adventures in the popular Magic Tree House Series by author Mary Pope Osborne. This group will meet weekly, after school. There will be crafts and activities inspired by the stories the group reads. With the appropriate permission slip, the schools will transport participating kids over to the library. For more information, visit This group requires registration to participate. To obtain a permission slip, register, and get your book, contact the Southworth Library.

Looking for Dryden writer
Tompkins Weekly is looking for a Dryden-area writer interested in filling the Dryden column on a weekly basis. Interested in telling the story of your community? Contact Managing Editor Jamie Swinnerton at



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