As you may suspect, Avid will eventually play host to a variety of book clubs (and will aim to have a space set aside for any area book clubs to meet, even if an Avid bookseller is not involved in the discussion). For now we're starting modestly, with just one book club I've talked a lot about on this blog.
The inaugural meeting of our Buy Local Book Club/We Are Athens Book Club/Insert-More-Clever-Name-Here-About-Localism-&-Sustainability-&-Community-Book-Club Here went really well. We met at the Globe, a longtime downtown Athens pub and restaurant and had a couple of hours of good discussion, meeting new friends, and even a little bit of networking.
Catrina Cook (J House Media) and I were there to informally and unofficially represent We Are Athens. The rest of the 13-person group was made up of people with a variety of backgrounds. We had a couple of folks who are new to Athens as well as 20+ year veterans; we had one out of towner who wanted to learn about the club and a handful of small business owners who want to see some changes in the Athens community landscape. We had one neighborhood-conscious fellow who's spearheading the new Barber Street Park Project--surely something the Project for Public Spaces would be excited about. The variety of attendees was refreshing and people gave me perspective on things I hadn't thought about before.
In the interest of brevity, I'll mention a few things here that we mentioned LOVING about Athens.
2. approachability/friendliness of citizens and local government
4. dynamic, ever-changing nature of the city
5. all the green space
6. gardens (personal, community, and even large-scale ones)
7. our thriving downtown
8. the sense of hope & optimism among many citizens
9. people's willingness to change
11. vibrant arts scene
12. creative enclave that is Athens
13. tourism is always improving
And here are a handful of things we'd like to see for Athens. Ones with asterisks (*) are already in the works, as far as I know!
1. edible schoolyards*
2. music programming in schools (Athfest InSchool, for example)*
3. more family-oriented activities*
4. free public transportation
5. more frequent bus service/more extensive transit area
6. pedestrian-only areas of downtown
7. trolley/streetcar on Boulevard
8. require students to live on campus for at least a year
9. a UGA campus that is open to the downtown rather than closed off and separated
10. more bike-friendly routes & amenities*
11. We Are Athens (Buy Local Athens)*
12. a "playborhood"
Your turn: what would YOU add to this list?
We've selected our next book, and I hope to see you at the next meeting (date & time TBA) so we can discuss The Better World Handbook: Small Changes That Make a Big Difference.