Book club helps those with developmental challenges |

Book club helps those with developmental challenges

It meets every Monday at Park City Library

Kate Mapp is the organizer of Park City’s Next Chapter Book Club. The adult services librarian said the group, currently reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” is designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Frances Moody/Park Record

Members of the Next Chapter Book Club discussed the best and worst parts of the afternoon at the end of their gathering on Monday at the Park City Library.

The best part, they decided, was knowing the hero of the book they’re reading accomplished a goal. They agreed the worst thing to happen was noticing the absence of Kelsey, a club regular who had another obligation.

Kate Mapp, adult services librarian for the library, said deciphering the pros and cons of each get-together is a ritual for the Next Chapter Book Club, a group designed for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

But it’s only one habit the group — which has met since fall 2016 — has adopted.

Part of a larger organization founded in Ohio as a way for people with developmental challenges to actively participate in their communities, Park City Library’s Next Chapter Book Club meets every Monday from noon to 1 p.m. in the library café.

They spend a few months on one book, with each member taking his or her turn to read out loud. Mapp said she is hoping to add more voices to the meetings.

“We have four members, and we’re definitely interested in recruiting more,” she said.

The club is currently reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” a book selected from a list provided by the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council, the organization that brought the club to Park City.

“The council has a whole kit of 30 to 40 books they’ve analyzed and recommended for these groups to read,” said Mapp, the Park City club’s organizer. “Within the group, I might suggest some titles out of that kit.”

“Harry Potter” is the list’s most difficult book to read, but members of the club were familiar with the movie based on the novel about a boy’s experience at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

“Some had already read the book, and that really helps if you’re familiar with the story and the characters,” Mapp said. “It especially helps people retain more information when they’re reading at book club.”

After reading a passage, members talk about how they relate to the content. Mapp said they often bring up their experiences with bullying, since main character Harry is mistreated by his aunt and uncle.

Last time, the members shared stories about their pets as they ate their lunches, which they’re asked to bring to every meeting.

“We talked about our pets, because Harry gets an owl,” Mapp said.

Once members finish the book, they will watch a screening of the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” movie in the library’s Jim Santy Auditorium.

“We will have a pizza party celebration, and then we’ll start a new book,” Mapp said.

The first book the club finished was Louis Sachar’s “Holes.” They’ve made it part way through “Harry Potter,” and Mapp is thrilled to watch the members’ reading comprehension and confidence improve.

“This club offers a safe, welcoming environment for adults who may not necessarily be comfortable joining other adults with book clubs and books,” Mapp said. “It’s a great way for them to participate and get exposure to new books and new friends, and for them to have this great conversation every week.”

The Next Chapter Book Club, designed for people with developmental disabilities, meets every Monday from noon to 1 p.m. in the café at the Park City Library. Anyone is welcome to join and can do so by contacting Kate Mapp at or at 435-615-5602.

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