Raise your hand if you’re in a book club.
We’ve posted a bit about them here in the past and each month I send out a nice little e-newsletter out specifically focusing on book groups. (Click here if you don’t already receive it but want to.) If you’re in a book club you know that title choice is a big deal. As are the logistics of who, when, and where. Just ask the New York Times.
My fellow club cohort Kayleigh (say that five times fast) and I began our own little group a few months ago and for us title choice is all about democracy. Members think of titles and then we all vote. Whichever title gets the most votes wins. Easy, right? Well, because life is busy and planning a date to meet often seems harder than brokering peace negotiations, I now have one week to read said book. Eeek!
Back when I still lived at “home” I considered joining my library book club. (Shout out to the Carlsbad Public Library!) I was intrigued by the types of books that were chosen and always wondered who got the fun job of choosing them. Mondays were for Classics, Tuesdays were more hodge-podge, and so on. Now that I work in library marketing and know a bit about what goes into the book group efforts on our side, I’m curious to know how it works on your end. So humor me if you will…
Does your library have a book group? If so, how do you select the books that your patrons read?
We have a Great Books discussion group (through The Great Books Foundation), a traditional book group (my coworker consults a host of sources for her ballots to the group), and I lead a genre group. I put out a ballot of topics and we choose six months at a time, then participants choose the book they would like to read. All I require is that it fall under the topic. This month we are going to discuss National Book Award winners. Last month we discussed Young Adult fiction. We never have to worry whether or not there are enough copies to go around and my members love the unique and vibrant format!
Sounds like a great book club. I love the theme idea. What have been some of your past themes?
I’m in a religious book club called the Daughters of Abraham, where Muslim, Christian and Jewish women read books about each others’ religion. There are 11 chapters in the Boston area; we get book suggestions either from members or from lists of what different clubs have read in the past. It’s really fun and we all learn a lot.
Our library currently hosts 4 book clubs. One is dedicated to Jane Austin books while the other three vote each month on the next book to read. I have been in a private book club for the past 8 years that meets monthly in each of our homes. Each host provides dinner and no less than 8 of our 13 come faithfully each month.
At the library I have recently had requests for both teen and tween book clubs. My teen group is beginning with The Last Juror by John Grisham, while the tween group is just getting started. I’m very excited to host both of these groups.
I run two book clubs at the library, one general interest and one devoted to mystery fiction. For the general interest book club, we have established that we alternate fiction and nonfiction from one month to the next. In this group, books are chosen by a combination of democracy (group vote) and benevolent despotism (exercising my librarian superpowers to steer selection). For the mystery group, there is less voting and more decree … but the decree is informed by close attention to input from the readers.
Thanks to everyone for your comments and insight! -rhmarie