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How To Start Your Own Book Club

Interested in starting a book club? Here are a few helpful tips.

I’m seeing more and more book clubs popping up. Many take place online, but it’s fun to discuss a book in person. Having a face-to-face discussion allows you to really express your feelings about a particular book. And when a good discussion gets going, it can be exhilarating!

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you start your own book club right here in Campbell.

The Members

Ask your friends or members of other organizations you belong to if they are interested. The or might know others who want to form a club.

Large or small? Larger clubs can be difficult to organize, but a variety of perspectives can create lively discussions. Smaller clubs allow each member to contribute more in-depth analysis.

Get Organized

Write up rules that you can present and open for discussion at your first meeting. These can include where, when and how long you’ll meet. A coffee shop or someone’s home works well. Hold a meeting at least once a month. Most clubs meet for one to one and a half hours.

The group should have a facilitator. If you aren’t comfortable with that role, ask for a volunteer.

Designate someone to email meeting reminders to members. If you’re meeting at members’ homes, you can rotate houses and everyone can take turns bringing a simple snack or beverage.

The Discussion

Members can suggest which book to read, and then vote. Make sure to choose books that are easily available. The bestseller list is a good source, as well as the library’s “what to read” page.

To get the discussion going, email questions to members before the meeting. Many books include discussion questions. Everyone can also bring their own questions. The questions should generate answers other than “yes” or “no.” Don’t necessarily rein in sidetracked discussions. Those are often the most interesting! The facilitator should make sure each member has a chance to comment.

Organization, rules, etc., help, but the main thing to remember is why you’re there—to share your love of books.

Happy reading…and discussing!

Cathy Weselby May 10, 2011 at 08:21 PM
I love being in a book club because it's opened me up to so many authors and books that I probably wouldn't have picked up on my own.
Campbell Library May 10, 2011 at 08:21 PM
You might be interested to know --- Campbell Library, a Santa Clara County Library, lends book club kits! A kit contains 12 paperback copies of a title as well as background information and discussion questions for your book club. The kits check out for six weeks! One person from the groups checks out the kit and distributes copies of the book to members! Cheryl Houts Community Librarian Cambpell Library
Rachel Stern May 10, 2011 at 08:43 PM
That's a really great, convenient system. Thanks for the tip, Cheryl!
Linda Covella May 11, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Thank you, Cheryl! I also received this information from Marlene Iwamoto at the Campbell branch: The library provides Book Club Kits 2 Go. Patrons may place a hold on a kit and it will be sent from our headquarters to any of the libraries in our Santa Clara County Library system. http://www.santaclaracountylib.org/services/lists/bookclubkit.html List of Book Club Kits to check out: http://www.santaclaracountylib.org/services/lists/bookclub2go.html The library catalog provides a current list of the New York Times Best Seller and patrons may place holds on any of these items. The New York Times Best Seller is generally a good indicator of what “popular” books are being checked. http://sccl.bibliocommons.com/explore/show/best_seller/5925_new_york_times

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