Five years ago, the Senior Peer Counseling program at Peninsula Family Service (PFS) hosted the first meeting of the LGBTQ+ Book Club in San Mateo County. Senior Peer Counseling staff and volunteers believed the book club would create a sense of community for all who participated. Membership was open to all in the LGBTQ+ community, including allies and advocates, and the books selected were as diverse as the members of the Book Club.
During those five years, the LGBTQ+ Book Club has grown to offer companionship, life-long learning, inclusiveness, and diversity. The LGBTQ+ Book Club provides members with a community so that members do not feel isolated from others or very alone. During the hardest days of COVID-19, the LGBTQ+ Book Club created the opportunity for members to engage in real conversation. For some, it was the necessary outlet to feel connected to others. Members have shared that reading and discussing a book with the LGBTQ+ Book Club is an act of valuable connection.
In February 2021 a large milestone occurred when the LGBTQ+ Book Club became an official peer support group at the San Mateo County Pride Center. Stay tuned for more news that the San Mateo County Library system will be co-sponsoring the LGBTQ+ Book Club in the near future.