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August 20, 2014, 8:22 pm

Book club beneficial to Northwest residents

Angela Harrison of Mount Airy revisited her love of reading when she recently retired.

Yet, as many of her colleagues and professional network were still on the heavy workload treadmill, she found none had time to share her reflections on the new books she was reading. It was at the Wadsworth Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, however, that Harrison found camaraderie with the staff.

While the librarian was open to one-on-one book discussions, she also knew that there were others in Northwest Philadelphia who read passionately. That’s when she steered Harrison to two books on forming a book club. Harrison feverishly read through these volumes and decided to start what is now known as the Black Butterflies Book Club.

The first session of the new group was held at the Wadsworth library located at the corner of Michener and Wadsworth avenues last Saturday.

Several women gathered in the lower level conference room to discuss their book list, the ground rules for the club, and to get to know each other. It was Tysh Harrison-Oliver who came up with the name for the club after many other ideas were tossed around.

“I just like the symbolism of butterflies,” Harrison-Oliver said. “You know how they start out as caterpillars and then become butterflies. As I was listening to what (the women) hoped to get out of the club it just seemed to fit.

Yet others in attendance like Dawn Cater of Mount Airy or Kimiyo of Germantown had their own ideas. Thrown around at the session were club names like Remarkable Women Book Club, Dreams Come True Club, and even the It’s OK to Exhale Book Club. Even when the latter was shortened to Exhale Book Club, the majority overruled it with Black Butterfly Book Club.

Perhaps no one is more excited about the monthly book club meetings than Harrison. A longtime Mount Airy resident and former child care supervisor, Black Butterflies Book Club is a dream come true. It is shaping up to be a intergenerational group of female readers of color who live and/or work in neighborhoods like Mount Airy, West Oak Lane and Germantown.

“When I worked in child care I always stressed the importance of reading as a major part of a child’s education,” Harrison said. “Reading is where we learn so much even beyond that early childhood education. I wanted to share this besides just talking to the librarian.”

Now the Black Butterflies Book Club has their initial reading list made up for their sessions which are scheduled on the third Saturday of each month. They will be held on a rotating basis at the home of members.