Did You Know: How to Run a Successful Book Group
There are lots of book clubs out there now, and there's more than one way to run a successful one. From selecting a title befitting your group, to developing meaningful discussion prompts, the library can support you every step of the way.
- Try one of HCPL’s Book Club in a Bag sets to start a club of your own. Each set contains eight copies of a title in a portable tote bag that you can place on hold. Browse a variety of title options and find the perfect fit for your group!
- The Library also offers several recommendation resources to help you find the right title for your next discussion. Try My Next Read, subscribe to LibraryAware newsletters, or explore Novelist for thousands of read-a-likes, book discussion guides, and more. Visit your library or use our Ask A Librarian service (green tab located on the right side of our website) if you need more resources to develop discussion questions.
- And if you’re still feeling nervous about starting your own book club, attend one of our many Book Discussions at the Library! See a book group in action and get some ideas for how you’d like to run your own.
The American Library Association’s Quick Start Guide is a great resource for those new to running a book club. Below are some of their suggested questions to consider as you’re getting started. Be sure to also check out their Hosting and Facilitating page for tips on setting ground rules and sample questions for kick starting the discussion.
What type of group should it be? Decide on an orientation: we suggest targeting somewhere between highly social and seriously academic.
What kind of books should we read? Choose a literary genre or a mix of genres: fiction (current, classic), poetry, drama, mystery, sci-fi, current events, history, or biography.
How many members should we invite? 8 to 16 members are best: enough for a discussion if several are absent, but not so many that discussions become unwieldy.
How often should we meet? Monthly works best for most clubs. Some meet every 6 weeks. Once you choose a schedule, try to stick with it.
When should we meet? Whether weekday evenings or weekends, this will largely depend on the job/childcare schedules of your members.
Where should we meet? Some good meeting places are: homes, clubhouses, public libraries, churches, local Y’s, and restaurants.
How do we keep in touch? Send out monthly meeting reminders. If not everyone in your group uses email, mail postcards instead. When you start the group, distribute a list of phone numbers and addresses.
Looking for more insight? Check out some of these excellent suggestions about getting your book club off the ground:
- Eight Tips for Starting and Nurturing a Successful Book Club from the Seattle Times
- How to Run a Successful Book Group Guide – Originally developed by the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library, reposted by Pierce County Library System
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