Erie County Public Library offers first adult virtual programming


Rachel Stevenson

Erie, PA – The “Minerva’s Bibliophiles” book club reignites the celebration of the Minerva statue’s return to Erie County Public Library, which was abruptly canceled in March 2020 by the library’s closure. Activities planned for Minerva’s Quinquatria celebration have been reworked to be offered in a virtual format.

These activities include Roman food tastings, craft activities, and a discussion with the author of the featured book. Now happening via online platforms, these activities hope to celebrate the many facets of the Roman Goddess Minerva and provide enrichment for adults that has been missing in light of gathering restrictions.

The required reading for the book club is “Mistress of Rome,” chosen for its depiction of ancient Rome and ties to the Roman Goddess Minerva. To participate in the book club, beginning July 22, patrons will need to acquire their own copy of the book and register. Erie County Public Library has limited copies available; interested participants should contact their local bookstore to reserve a copy.

Registration is limited and available at Weekly discussions will take place online using the Bookclubz platform.

At the conclusion of the book club, author Kate Quinn will host a Zoom meeting with Q&A on Aug. 19 to allow readers a chance to delve deeper into the works. One lucky participant will even win an autographed copy from Ms. Quinn herself. The author discussion is free and open to the public.

Supplementing the reading, and celebrating the culture of ancient Rome, two virtual food tastings will be held: Lavender Rabbit will facilitate a vinegar tasting Aug. 5, and Buona Cucina will host Olive Oil Basics on Aug. 12. Both events will take place over Zoom and allow participants to pick up their tasting samples from the retail stores in advance.

Additional tie-in activities for readers include craft kits, recipes, and additional library resource materials to explore themes throughout the book and learn about Ancient Rome.

While the book club is strictly for adults (not suitable reading for children), a curated list for interested kids and teens is available to make this a family-engaging event.

Since reopening, Erie County Public Library has offered programming virtually for children and teens (including the Blasco Bookworms and Teen Reading Lounge) and is pleased to offer this program for adults. They remain committed to providing patrons with engaging and enriching programs while observing health and safety protocols.

Book Synopsis: Thea, a captive from Judaea, is a clever and determined survivor hiding behind a slave’s docile mask. When her mistress is enraged that Thea has won the love of the newest and most savage gladiator, she rips them apart. But Thea reinvents herself and ends up catching the eye of the emperor himself. Many have tried to bring him down. Will a former slave who became his mistress be the one to orchestrated his fall?


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