­Centennial’s most seasoned group of readers is blasting through books

Community Life
Resident led book club at Holly Creek

Posted: November 14, 2023

Holly Creek neighbors share how to find good reads and enjoy them together

With the weather finally getting colder, many Coloradans are turning again to indoor activities, including the age-old hobby of reading. Just ask neighbors at Holly Creek Life Plan Community in Centennial, who are particularly voracious readers thanks to the local mobile library services and its own, resident-led book club.

Holly Creek resident Charles “Charlie” Brown has read around 30 books this year, but reading didn’t come easily to him as a child. He didn’t start to learn until second grade with the help of a teacher at his Catholic school. Over the years he’s explored many genres, from sports and Western novels to (most recently) Native American mysteries. Now he is continuing to branch out into new genres, thanks in part to Holly Creek’s unique partnership with the nearby Koelbel Library.

“The library system here is really good — you can get anything here you want. Every two weeks the librarians come to the community,” Brown said. The Mobile Library Services librarians with Arapahoe Library transform the community’s library room into a fully functioning arm of the public library system, complete with books to browse.

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“We try to bring the latest releases, including large and regular print books, audiobooks, magazines and DVDs,” Arapahoe Public Libraries’ Home Delivery Administrator Susan Adams said of the four additional racks of around 400 items spanning everything from mysteries to romance and literary fiction. The Arapahoe Mobile Library Services team also keeps a poster of the new and the most popular books and provides regular presentations at the community on key books coming out.

It’s not just the easy access to books and DVDs, however, that makes the library partnership unique.

“Naturally there is a limited number of things we can bring with us, so we take a lot of holds and requests. That’s my favorite part of the job,” she said. “I keep a scrapbook of information for each person at Holly Creek with materials they like, what format they prefer, and their favorite genres and authors.”

“The librarians are so helpful… Susan will try anything for you,” Brown said. “When I got started reading Hillerman books, she started chasing them down from all over the state — I think I got one from Craig.”

This year, Brown read 17 Tony Hillerman novels that Adams helped him find, including the popular, hard-to-find novel “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Few groups of readers are more voracious than those at Holly Creek. Over its ten years in partnership with the community, the Arapahoe Library has connected hundreds of older adults with thousands of stories. Mysteries and thrillers are the most popular, along with British shows/movies, romance, historical fiction and Tudor fiction, and “anything to do with the Kennedys and British royalty.” The librarians bring books for around 45 residents, and the bin by the door is always brimming with over 100 returns by the end of each visit. It provides residents with many resources right at their fingertips.

“The nearby Koebel Library was one of the main reasons that I moved here in the first place,” said another book lover, Holly Creek resident Karla Langton. In addition to the books available through the mobile library visits, Langton appreciates the easy access to video rentals so she and her husband can gather DVDs for the community’s Monday and Tuesday movie nights, which they help coordinate.

In addition, the library extension works closely with the community’s other reading hub — the Holly Creek book club. The sizeable neighbor-led club reads and discusses a new book each month, loaned through the library as a “kit” of 10 to 20 books.

“I work with the librarian to see what is available, and then we try to choose something the members like and tailor it to them,” said Pat VanBramer, who has helped lead the book club for the last four years. “Rather than ordering by the month, we keep a wish list of things we’d like to have, and when the librarian can get a hold of them, she gets them for us. So it’s always kind of a surprise… Koebel has been a fabulous partner.”

The book club has explored and discussed numerous books in all different genres and on various topics — from women in WWII and life during the Depression to the discovery of the Nile River.

What each Holly Creek reader has found is a deep appreciation for what reading and discussing in a group can provide.

“You learn so much. It keeps your mind going,” Langton said. “It’s also so much fun to be with a group of people who have all read the same book… It’s great to be together with friends.”

“When we read, we become more accepting of other people’s perceptions,” Brown added, saying that he’d encourage any older adult to pick up books and join a book club if possible. “I really appreciate that about reading — it allows you to hear a very different approach on a subject and actually hear it out. Plus, it gives you a much-needed escape. If you’re a reader, you’re never alone. That’s one thing I really appreciate about access to books and a community that loves to read.”

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Holly Creek Active Senior Living Community is owned and managed by Christian Living Communities and is a full service life plan community. We offer active Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care as well as Skilled Nursing, and Rehabilitation. Holly Creek Active Senior Living Community is located in Centennial, Colorado and services the areas in and around Greenwood Village, Englewood, Columbine, Cherry Hills Village, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Heritage Hills, Meridian, Dove Valley, Stonegate, Parker, Aurora, Lakewood, and South Denver. We also are an ideal senior community for those in the zip codes 80122, 80120, 80121, 80111, 80130, 80126, 80129, 80112, and 80124.

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Holly Creek Retirement Community adheres to all regulations as written in the Americans with Disabilities Act and The Fair Housing Act and accordingly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, familial status, disability (whether it be mental or physical), or sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation).