Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Saturday, September 19, 2009

BBF: The Book Club Toolkit (part 3)

This is the 3rd post in a series about The Book Club Toolkit panel I'm moderating at the Baltimore Book Festival on 9/26 @ noon. You can read the first post here, the second here, and the fourth here.

The Topics

Below is a list of some of the topics we'll discuss during the panel.

Setting Goals
  • Does your club have a purpose? if so, what is it? clubs are different, there can be many difference purposes
  • How often to meet - usually once a month, is your club different? how?
  • New book club vs. existing club - how to find members, how to choose members (based on club goals)
  • Is your club open to new members? Under what conditions?
Choosing Books
  • Does your club have rules or guidelines – paperbacks only? available at library? specific genres excluded? etc.
  • There needs to be something worth discussing in the book
  • How far in advance do you choose? Benefits/drawbacks to that system?
  • How does your club deal with this? one person or rotating leaders?
  • Responsibilities include what? why is this needed?
The Discussion
  • Research before the meeting – where to find info, what to look for
  • Keeping the discussion on track - tips/suggestions?
  • Dealing with books you don’t like - suggestions?
Keeping it fun
  • Book/movie tie-in, themed meeting, new meeting place, etc.
Dealing with Problems
  • Problems you've had in your club, and solutions?
  • List common problems, suggest tools for dealing with them
  • Ask for audience questions - what do they need help with

Are there any topics I've overlooked? I'd love to hear your suggestions!


Infant Bibliophile said...

Hi -- just discovered your blog through BBAW. Congratulations on your award! Sort of glad to see you stopped reading for a few years during early parenthood and was able to pick it up again. That's where I am at now. I've joined a couple of book clubs and that's helping, but it's hard to read with a toddler. I enjoyed this post. The only other thing that came to mind was members not reading the book. Both of the clubs I'm in allow members to come whether or not they've read the book, but it does turn it into a bit more of a free for all gathering and less of a focused discussion (they're both small groups).

Brittany said...

One suggestion to discuss - whether a member is required to have already read a book before suggesting it to the group. For now, my group doesn't require this, but I think there are some good reasons for having a rule like this.

Heather J. said...

infant bibliophile - It is virtually impossible to read with a toddler - I know some blogger moms who do it, but I don't know how! Rest assured that you WILL get back to it if you want to once your little guy starts growing up.

Thanks for the suggestion - I'll definitely add that one to the list of topics.

Brittany - Very good idea - thanks so much. My club does not have this rule, but I can see why some clubs do. It is definitely worth discussing on the panel.

Kate T said...

Any suggestions for online book clubs? My friends and I started one before I moved from Oklahoma to Virginia, but there's mostly just the 3 of us and it would so much more fun if we could involve more people, plus it would introduce us to even more books that we normally wouldn't read otherwise.

Heather J. said...

Kate T - I'll definitely bring it up during the panel - thanks. I'm part of an online reading group (called Reading With Becky) but there doesn't seem to be a great deal of involvement. It's hard to get an online group going unless you have some very committed people. Have you tried asking your 3 members to each recruit someone new? That might be a way to broaden your horizons. I'll let you know if there are any suggestions made at the panel!

The Book Club Guide said...

Thanks for all your great posts, and for working hard to promote book clubs. One question I hear asked a lot is how to come up with thought-provoking discussion questions.

Good luck during on your presentation!

Heather J. said...

The Book Club Guide - Thanks! That is definitely a topic we'll be discussing. :)

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