Patricia Turner Smith is the presiding president of RARE Book Club. Patricia resides in Memphis, TN and lives each day enjoying retirement. She is the mother of two daughters and one granddaughter. Patricia is an active member of the Orange Mound Energizer Line Dancers, Family and Friends a group of members from various churches that meet to share ideas to improve the community and provide assistance to the less fortunate. Patricia volunteers her time by reading books to elementary school students at various schools and assisting the teachers when administering tests. She bowls monthly with a group of retired coworkers and of course, she enjoys reading. Patricia’s motto is Dream Big, Be Strong and Don’t Worry About Tomorrow Because God Is Already There.
BPM: Please tell us about your book club! What is the name? How many members do you have?
The ladies of RARE Book Club is located in Memphis, TN. R.A.R.E (Reading And Rapping Experience) was founded September 7, 1997. We will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of RARE this year. There are twelve active, unique and energetic members of RARE. The ladies enjoy reading and rapping about various book selections. They are imaginative, and don’t hesitate to put their twist about a story line.
RARE Book Club Officers:
President, Patricia T. Smith
Secretary, Debora Williams
Chaplain, Charlene Hill
Treasurer, Sarita Baker
Asst. Treasurer, Yolanda Marshall
Web Masters, Lisa Puckett and LaTrecia Dyson
Members: Tawanda Hardy and Angela Dickerson
Event Coordinators, Katrina Burns, Barbara Spann and Sandra Brown
BPM: What is the purpose of your organization? Does the name of the club have a special meaning?
The ultimate goal of RARE is to read and have book discussions, network with other book clubs, coordinate and host author’s book signing events and all other literary influences as we promote the importance of literacy. The ladies of RARE have a “Reading And Rapping Experience” during our book discussions. They have shown enthusiasm and dedication for literacy by collectively reading 801 books from September 15, 2015 thru August 26, 2016. It is their goal to read books, have intelligent discussions and promote the importance of literacy. RARE was presented the 2016 award by BWABC (Black Writers and Book Clubs) Literacy Rocks Association. for “Reading the Most Books”.
BPM: What has the main focus become over the years? What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?
RARE’s goal is to infuse intellectual minds, strengthen sisterhood, offer their time and service within the community and build lasting relationships thru literacy genre. The ladies of RARE collectively volunteered approximately one hundred twenty-four (124) hours of community service from September 15, 2015 thru August 26, 2016. RARE was presented the 2016 award by BWABC, Literacy Rocks Book Club Community Service Award for their commitment to serve others in the community. We rise by lifting others. The community hours included volunteering at Hope House, RARE’s adopted organization. Hope House of Memphis provides preschool and social services for families affected with HIV/AIDS. Our investment in Hope House is an investment in the community. The ladies of RARE support Hope House by helping to provide a healthy and clean environment. They clean the facilities that the students and staff use on a daily basis.
Each year we donate and deliver out door toys such as hoopla hoops, bubbles, balls and other toys for the children based on the request of the staff. The volunteers took the time to interact with the children during play time. They adopt a family of at least four each year at Christmas and purchase everything on their wish lists including toys, clothes, cook ware, bake ware and gift cards for the mother. Their other volunteer opportunities include participating during Black History events, walking for Breast Cancer Awareness and participating in the 5k one and a half mile marathons that raise money for various organizations including St. Jude and Heroes in Recovery.
RARE also works with and supports the efforts of YLT (Young Ladies Today Making A Difference Tomorrow), a nonprofit organization in Southaven, MS. The organization helps to enrich the lives of young ladies ages 5 thru 18. The mission is to impact their lives and make a difference through mentoring, community service, tutoring, arts, reading and building self-esteem. RARE will definitely leave a lasting legacy in the community.
BPM: How do you make your book club selections for the month? When do you select the books?
Each member hosts a meeting and is responsible for selecting a book to discuss at the meeting. Meetings are held monthly. The book selection for the next month’s meeting is provided at the previous month’s meeting to allow ample time for the members to read the book.
BPM: Do you use social media to share your featured books with other readers?
RARE’s Facebook page is utilized to share the featured books. Some members also share on their face book page.
BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?
The ladies are avid readers and supporters of African American authors for the book discussions however, not limited to just reading books by African Americans. They certainly support self-published authors. Books are borrowed from the library.
BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities?
The ladies of RARE host an Annual Tea and Social in February that feature spoken word, poetry and local and out of state authors. The authors have included but not limited to Christian fiction authors, EMMA and African American Literacy Awards Winner, best sellers, romance, Rosa Parks Award Winner and new authors. We invite book clubs, friends, church members and others that are interested in reading to participate in the social. The authors have an opportunity to expound on how they got involved in writing and provide their experience based on their writing career. The authors and guest have an opportunity to mix and mingle, take pictures and purchase signed copies of books. The fellowship has built lasting relationships thru literary genre. RARE Book Club had the distinguished honor of receiving the 2016 Book Club of the Year Award by BWABC. The ladies do socialize other than at the book club meetings.