“Shared reading is a wonderful way of meeting like-minded people. It’s a way of exploring different perspectives on life and appreciating different views”
Leicestershire group member
Photo courtesy of The Reader
Shared Reading groups bring people together through great literature to talk, laugh and share. We have serious conversation and good fun. Just drop in and enjoy listening to a story or poem – there's no homework, and no pressure to read or talk.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dominate our lives, here at LSR we continue to adapt to circumstances. While we are unable to meet in libraries we are proud to be able to offer the shared reading experience through a variety of virtual groups, online or on the phone.
Shared reading, in the comfort of your own home
Back in the summer we set up two new groups on Zoom, which have been going well. Experience has shown that the one-hour time-slot we started with is not enough, so we are now extending the time available to 90 minutes. This brings the two new groups into line with our existing groups. Meanwhile, four of the existing library groups that have switched to virtual platforms have decided to open up to new members. This means that we can now offer a much greater choice of days and times during the week.
At a time when many people are still shielding or anxious about leaving their homes, virtual shared reading offers a powerful sense of connection with other people and with great literature.
The beauty of a virtual group meeting is that it doesn’t matter where you live: anyone who has a phone or computer can join in.
Our two newest sessions run on
Wednesdays, from 1.30-3.00pm, and Thursdays, from 3.30-5.00pm. Sessions take place at the same time each week. The meetings use the Zoom video platform which also allows audio calls.
In addition to these groups, you can choose to join one of our groups that previously met in person but now meet online or on the phone. Click here to see the times they meet. It doesn't matter if you don't live near the group's original home. Please note, though, that a couple of our groups are at capacity and cannot accept new members.
To join one of these groups, just contact us using one of the methods at the bottom of this page and we will send you the log-in details that you will need to access the meeting, along with the texts that we will be reading that week.
Who can join?
Anyone who has a phone or internet access can join, and coming along just once will give you a taste of Shared Reading. There is no long-term commitment - you are welcome to give it a try, and come every week or when you feel like it!
Will it cost me anything?
Joining a Zoom meeting with video on a computer or other internet-connected device is free; audio calls into a meeting from a mobile or landline telephone will be charged at your normal national call rate. For many this will mean that your call is free, as packages tend to include free calls of up to an hour’s duration, for example.
Our Coalville group meets on WhyPay, a telephone conferencing service, so all you need is a phone. Calls are included in 'bundled' minutes from UK landline or mobile numbers, so are free if you have a contract that includes those; if not, they are charged at normal national rates.
Can't find a group to suit you? If none of the current group times suits you, please let us know: we hope to launch further groups, and it would be really useful to have an idea of the days and times that would be popular.
'Will I enjoy it?'
The value of the shared reading experience to our members has become clearer than ever during the pandemic, when many of them are at home and alone. We have received some lovely feedback about our 'virtual' meetings and WhatsApp chats:
"I am so glad I saw the poster in the library. Joining this group is the best thing I have done for me for years. [It] has made the world of difference to me, even more so in the present circumstances. I just love it. Thank you everyone."
"I think this is a story relevant for these times. The current news is so disturbing we have focus to on our gardens and cooking to stay sane! Thank you again, for organising Shared Reading especially at this strange time. It is so appreciated."
"What a wonderful group of people you are. So many moving experiences that you are able to share with such joy."