Following Their Curiosity: The Joy of Readers and Writers at Wake Robin

By September 30, 2020 Blog

Wake Robin residents love being active. Physically engaged, they swim in an indoor swimming pool, bike the country lanes around campus, and practice yoga and Tai Chi. Residents also nourish their minds through lectures, Inquire – Wake Robin’s lifelong learning program – and, fundamentally, reading and writing. Wake Robin has been a center for arts and letters since the beginning.

The library has 34 volunteers making it the great place it is

Even before the Community Center was completed in 1993, a library was installed on campus. It started just as a basket of books!  The Founders then solicited incoming residents to donate books, and once the Wake Robin Residents Associated (WRRA) formed, funding for a library space became top priority.

The design and implementation of the library was a great success, primarily because a few professional librarians – who were joining Wake Robin – oversaw its progress. Today, the library is housed in a brand-new space of the Community Center, adjacent to the reading room. It features a digital center equipped with a large Mac monitor, which serves residents well because many continue independent research projects. The thousand-plus book collection reflects resident interests and includes many bestsellers from the last five years. According to the Head of the Library Committee, Pat, there is a strategy in choosing new books. “The community here is very well read. They like to read the latest books and often make suggestions,” she said.

Borrowing books on the go due to Covid precautions

Outside of the library, there are a number of groups at Wake Robin that hone the skill of writing. The Memoirs Group meets weekly and welcomes all kinds of writers – from those residents who are polishing up an autobiography, to those just beginning to write about their lives. These days the group connects through video chat and listens to one speaker who shares part of his or her memoir for fifteen minutes, and then hears feedback. The range of stories are delightful, spanning childhood memories of farm life to unique career experiences. One member, reflected on the bond of the group, said “We trust each other and very interested in what each other have to say.”

The Vermont Humanities Book Club at Wake Robin attracts the inquisitive and analytical minds on campus. Popular each year, the demand to join the book club

Vermont Humanities Council’s Reading & Discussion program has been going strong at Wake Robin for over a decade

is always so strong that two groups are needed to facilitate discussions. The statewide program offers 250 themes and Wake Robin chooses one each fall and winter semester. Within each theme, residents read one book each month for four months and convene monthly with a expert discussion leader. Last year the group selected the US Constitution as a theme and read the Bill of Rights, among other documents. “The best part of the group is the discussions,” said Pam, who’s in charge of the committee that selects the themes. “The discussions are always riveting.”

The active life here at Wake Robin takes many shapes. Residents choose which path of joy they want to choose – and there are often many. You can come here to finish your novel or memoir. Or rekindle a passion for woodworking or quilting. You can learn water coloring from scratch. The possibilities are endless. Let your imagination roam.