Now more than ever, we're finding creative ways to maintain our social connections and even make new ones! Book clubs provide a fun and engaging platform to spend time with friends and get to know people in your community. What better way to bond than over your favorite books!
Knowing how to start a book club may seem overwhelming, but we're here to help! Below, you'll find our best tips for starting your own book club, as well as free book club kits to help get you started!
Step 1: Before You Start
When planning your book club, there are a few key questions you need to consider:
1. What kind of book club will it be?
- Will there be more of an emphasis on reading or socializing?
- Will your book club focus on a specific genre, bestsellers, high literature, etc.?
- Who will make the decisions? Will there be a designated leader? Will this position cycle through all the members? Will decisions be made democratically?
- How big do you want the book club to get? Do you want a small, intimate group, or do you dream of creating a large, vibrant online community?
2. How will you meet?
- Will you meet in person, or through an online platform?
- If you decide to meet in person, make sure that you are following current Sask Health guidelines.
- Possible online platforms include...
- Facebook groups. The benefit of using a Facebook group is that most people already have a Facebook account. Creating a Facebook group is quick and easy, and you set it to require approval before any individual can join. You'll want to appoint one or two people to lead and guide the conversation and approve new member requests. You can also post a poll in which members can vote on your next book. Learn how to start a Facebook group here.
- Goodreads groups. This website is specifically geared toward readers, and it's easy to create a reading group. With Goodreads, you can select a group name, description, and group rules. Each group can have its own "shelf" for books that you want to read in the future or that you have already read. If you want your group to grow fast, you can set it to "public" which means that anyone can join or read the discussion board. If you want to keep your group small, you can make it "private" or "secret".
- Zoom. If you would like the feeling of meeting in person, you can set up a Zoom call with your book club. With Zoom, members can use their smartphone or computer to join voice calls or video calls from home. For a full tutorial on getting started with Zoom, check out Palliser's Zoom tutorial in the Digital Academy.
- Do you want set meeting times where everyone gathers or logs on at the same time, or would you prefer asynchronous conversation, so everyone can participate whenever it fits their schedule?
Step 2: Invite Your Members
- Your ideal group size will depend on the type of group you are starting:
- For in person groups or Zoom groups, the ideal group size an be anywhere from 2 to 15 people. Smaller groups make it easier for each person to be heard.
- Text-based groups (such as Facebook groups or Goodreads groups) can handle a much larger group.
- If you're meeting in-person, your book club's size will depend on current Sask Health guidelines.
- A great way to gather a diverse group is to invite 3-5 people and ask them to each invite 3-4 friends.
Step 3: Set Up a Pre-Book Meeting
- Gather everyone together to discuss the first book option or vote on the first book.
- Discuss the permanent meeting time and location, bringing one or two options for meeting times.
- Discuss how the book club will be run, and goals for the book club.
Step 4: Get Your Book Club Kit
The next step is deciding how your members will receive their books. Kits make that process so much easier! With your Palliser library card, you can borrow a kit for free. Each kit includes 10 copies of the book and a discussion guide.
eBooks and Audiobooks: If you have a large group, or your group members live far apart, consider reading eBooks or listening to audiobooks instead. Hoopla offers anyone with a library card 5 free borrows a month, so your whole group can get the book online instantly.
- Update: Hoopla now offers a Graphic Novel Book Club! You can get free book club materials for the spotlighted graphic novel, plus recommendations for other popular graphic novels.
Step 5: Send Out Your First Book and a Meeting Schedule
- Send out your first book, ensuring that each member receives a copy.
- Prepare a meeting schedule for the rest of the year and make sure that everyone receives a copy.
- Happy reading and good luck!
Sources and Further Reading: