Secrets for a Successful Book Club

The short story is: talk to your librarians. They have all the good stuff! 

Summer is the time for traveling, outdoor picnics, and plenty of reading. While many may have left reading behind at our local public library’s summer reading challenges as kids and teenagers, reading over the summer is still for everyone. Joining or hosting a book club is one of the best ways to get back into the routine of reading and checking books off your list. 

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Book clubs these days are fun and exciting with even famous celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon getting involved. Book clubs can be as simple as picking a title, choosing your group, and gathering once a month for discussion. But, librarians can play a large role in enhancing your experience from helping with selection to all sorts of engaging additions to your discussions and readings. 

Best Book Recommendations

Librarians have extensive knowledge when it comes to book selection. There are millions of different titles to choose from when selecting your monthly reads and librarians are just the people to help you sort through the options. These suggestions can range from titles that will fit the genre of book your book club is interested in to titles that librarians just can’t wait to share. This makes the process of picking a lot more manageable and less stressful when it comes time to pick a new read.

There are also plenty of online resources librarians have contributed to that you can use to make your book selection. LibraryReads is a list of adult fiction and non-fiction picked out by nationwide library staff on a monthly basis. This list is a collective of any and all library staff who want to submit a recommendation and represents a wide range of titles, new or old. This is a great list because it shows the top books that librarians across the country are currently in love with. 

Another useful online resource is Reading Group Choices (RGC) which has been partnering with publishers, bookstores, libraries and authors for almost two decades on enhancing the book club experience. Not only does RGC create annual guides and monthly recommendation lists, they also organize group reading events around the country for readers to join.

Technology Infused Book Club Experiences

Librarians can also play a helpful role in facilitating your book club space at each gathering. Many have been innovative when it comes to meeting up, going the extra step to create virtual spaces for book club members to keep in touch while reading and join in on discussions they can’t physically attend. Librarians have been using all sorts of technology to complement physical book club meetings. A school librarian in Texas used it as a way for students to continue discussion outside of book club meetings or contribute if they miss one. The New York Public Library set up online video conferences so participants could stream meetings live from home. They’ve also been using it as a way to get authors involved by inviting them to online conversations and allowing book club members to interact and ask questions.

Completely online book clubs have also emerged in recent years and librarians have implemented ideas to keep sessions just as engaging as in-person meetings. At Cuyahoga County Public Library, a “Night Owls” live discussion occurs every Thursday evening on social media. This has been a hit with readers and drew in more engagement than the original online discussion board. The library has since created a lunchtime book club session due to its popularity. 

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Fun Book Clubs Being Held

There is inspiration everywhere when it comes to book clubs and your librarian is just the one to help you find it. For starters, The Library of Congress has a One Book Project where the goal is for each state or city to choose one book and encourage everyone in the vicinity to read it. There are plenty of statewide or city specific readings to choose from and it is a great way to learn from others around you. 

Amnesty International’s book club is also informative and engaging. They pair books with real world events and give members a chance to learn about giving back to the community in a way that relates to the book’s topic. Other book clubs focus on specific topics like a one related only to running, one that combines members' love for books and cocktails, or even book lists inspired by a TV series.

Librarians are the Secret to Your Book Club!

Librarians are the key when it comes to creating your next book club. With so much to explore and less free time in our adult lives, it can take effort to pick books and organize meetings. Not only can you go to them for any and all kinds of information you may need, you should definitely regularly incorporate them into your book club for an enhanced experience.