Book Club Asked To No Longer Meet At Local Library



A book club in Yakima is asked to no longer use a library for a meeting place, after the library says the club is not considered a part of the library's programming.

We sat down and had tea with two of the club's members, Bob and Mary Camarata.

Tea has been a staple beverage for them and their book club in Terrace Heights.

The Camaratas say for over thirty years, the Friendship Tea Book Club has met at the Terrace Heights Library for two hours once a week.

But last August, the 25 members were asked by the library to no longer meet there.

"It's like it's just us again. And when the public comes into the library, we don't get the chance to meet new people, and have them join our friendship tea," said Mary Camarata.

The group's exodus from the library stems from a decision made by the library's board of trustees.

The library says the group, which initially began as a library program, became more of a social gathering, and therefore was no longer considered a part of its programming.

But Bob Camarata argues the library's policies allow the group to use that space.

"They said as long as the library does not have a program running, or the friends of the library have a program, that it would be open to the public," said Bob Camarata.

But that wasn't the only issue.

The library says with a group of 15 to 25 filling up a room half the size of a basketball court, it made it extremely difficult for other guests to use it's resources.

"That pretty much eliminates people from coming in and using the other library services," said Yakima Valley Libraries Director Kim Hixson, "The group is very welcoming, and they want people to come in and join them. But it does take away from people who want to come in and study, or get on the computers."

Mary Camarata says she has no hard feelings towards the library, but would like to reach a compromise.

"We would love to continue being at the Terrace Heights Library, because it feels like home to all of us, since we've been there over thirty years," said Mary Camarata.

The Friendship Tea Group says it has rented out the Terrace Heights Civic Center -- next door to the library -- through November of next year.