Have you always wanted to start a book club?
Book clubs and reading groups are a great way to start reading more regularly and more widely, and a great way to make new friends, too. We run several reading groups at the Library, but if you want to launch one of your own, here are some tips to help you get going:
Do you want your book group to involve mainly your friends, or do you want anyone to be able to join? If the friend option appeals to you, decide on a date for an initial get-together to discuss details. If you want to open your group up to the world, use posters and social media platforms to get the word out.
Where do you want your group to meet? At your house, or a friend’s house? If your book club is open to all, a public space may be more suitable.
We’re more than happy to accommodate your book club at the Library. You can book any of our meeting rooms for free - and don't forget we're open til 21.00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Just email [email protected] and ask to reserve a room.
How often do you want your group to meet? Anything more than once a month might be a bit ambitious if your members work and have other responsibilities - after all, they're going to need to find enough time to read! Once a month or even once every other month might be more manageable.
4. Book choices
What kind of books do you want to read? Do you want your book club to consider all genres or would you prefer to concentrate on a specific topic or theme (for example, at the Library we run a monthly LGBTQ-themed reading group called Lit with Liberate). There are some pretty cool themed book clubs out there, like cookbook clubs where members try out recipes and bring the results in for everyone to try!
One potential issue is making sure all your members can get hold of a copy of the book you're reading, as it may not be reasonable to expect people to buy a new book every month. We can help! As part of our fiction collection we have multiple copies of some titles that you can bulk loan for your group. Have a look at this list, or ask a member of staff to show you to the rolling stack if you'd like to browse.
There are some pretty cool themed book clubs out there, like cookbook clubs where members try out recipes and bring the results in for everyone to try!
The best way for a book club to run smoothly is to do a little bit of preparation. If you’re leading the group, come up with some questions to keep the conversation flowing. Focus on the themes and issues the book raises, and people's emotional responses to it - how did it make you feel, and what does it have to say about XYZ? It helps to make a few notes as you're reading the book yourself.
Google is your friend, too - you'll find suggested questions on book club websites like LitLovers. Some books considered 'book club fodder' even include suggested questions at the back. And if you borrow one of our book club bundles, you'll find a sheet of questions inside.