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How to Start Your Own Book Club or Reading Group
This is a general guide that can be used to begin a Book Club or Reading Group. A Book Club has the implicit ability to modify any rules or regulations to better suit its members.
• Begin by finding a friend who shares your passion for reading books. If you want to use a Book Club to meet new people, post a flyer at book stores and libraries or post an announcement via an internet chat room or Web page.
• Decide how many people you want to have in the group (the consensus is anywhere from 2-12, depending on the desired intimacy), what kind of books you want to discuss (be as specific or general as you want, depending on your preference of genre) and whether you want to make membership or participation open to anyone or based around a personal theme (examples: women's book club, mother/daughters, singles, couples, travel enthusiasts). Contact interested members via e-mail or postal mail.
• Appoint a leader. This individual is responsible for establishing a set location for meetings, group attendance, initiating discussions and organizing times, dates and specified books. The leader must also emphasize the importance of communal attendance. A group may decide that the leadership responsibility may be too much, in which case, the responsibility may shift from member to member or the group may decide to have simply an organizing coordinator.
• Once the group has been assembled, it is often desirable to have an introductory get-to-know-you session, where the group can become familiar with one another. It is important to have the group decide how often it can meet (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.).
• If a discussion is drifting off topic, it is important to reiterate the purpose of the group and the centrality of its reading focus. If need be, the group can modify their discussion topics to cater to different members, elect varying topics or alter the number of books.
• Beyond discussing where to meet and when, a group may decide to incorporate snacks, meals, beverages etc. Groups centered around particular themes may want to organize further events, such as travel weekends, art excursions, film nights or attending events that have to do with themes, authors and books they have read and discussed.
Suggested Reading on Book Clubs:
The Reading Group Handbook by Rachel W. Jacobsohn
The New York Public Library Guide to Reading Groups by Rollene Seal
Book Club: Books Are Their Lives and Their Life Is a Book by Curtis Bunn
Comprehension Right From the Start: How To Organize and Manage Book Clubs For Young Readers by Donna Marriott
Related Links to Books Clubs: