EAST ISLIP

Local seniors book club turns to Zoom to stay connected

‘We were so happy and smiling because it was just like a real visit’

Randall Waszynski
Posted 4/16/20

The Joyce Fitzpatrick Senior Center book club was not able to meet for its monthly meeting in person, considering the social gathering restrictions in place for limiting the spread of the …

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EAST ISLIP

Local seniors book club turns to Zoom to stay connected

‘We were so happy and smiling because it was just like a real visit’

Posted

The Joyce Fitzpatrick Senior Center book club was not able to meet for its monthly meeting in person, considering the social gathering restrictions in place for limiting the spread of the coronavi- rus. On Monday, April 6, three members of the group met on Zoom for their first online meeting.

“Everybody is a senior, so it is a little bit tricky to try to get them going on Zoom. You have to work with people. Some people do not have smartphones, [and] some need help from their grand- children, which is fine if they happen to be living with them,” said Gerry Sass, a member of the book club. “I think it is a great alternative to not having a book group at all because our group really enjoys the event.”

Sass continued on to explain that con- verting to Zoom meetings was necessary in order to maintain members’ connec- tivity and uphold the group’s purpose: discussing the book they have read.

“As a group, you look forward to dis- cussing it and finding out what others think,” she said. “We do not want to pass that up because obviously, this [social gathering restriction] is going to be a few months.”

At the book club’s first Zoom meeting, the group discussed “Montauk,” by Nico- la Harrison, a novel taking place in the East End Long Island town during the 1938 New England hurricane.

Sass’s husband Andrew was able to connect a few members for their first meeting, and they plan to recruit other regular members to access Zoom for their monthly meeting in May.

The couple sent out an email to the

other members about the next meeting and the next book, which they need to change because it’s not offered by either of the online library resources available for borrowing Long Island books.

“We sent out the email for next month’s book, which now we have to change. We have phone numbers and will discuss with everyone about Zoom and trying to access it and also trying to utilize Live- brary.com and Libby,” Gerry Sass said. “Usually, at the center, there are about

eight people who come, so we are trying toseeifwecangetoneortwomore,at least, who can use the technology.”

Sass said that seeing the others on Zoom was a positive experience, consid- ering the lack of connection that comes with social distancing, especially for seniors.

“It could be really depressing because you really do not have anyone to talk to. We are all trying to keep in touch by phone, but there is nothing like when

I saw the two other folks in the book group,” Sass said. “We were just so hap- py and smiling because it was just like a real visit.”

Gerry and Andrew Sass invite mem- bers and anyone who would like to par- ticipate to email Arshacker@aol.com in order to get connected for the May Zoom meeting on the first Monday of the month at 10 a.m.

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