Monday, August 13, 2012

5 Tips for Book Club Organizers - guest post by Barbara Jolie

Happy Monday!

Me and Reading has a visitor today. Barbara Jolie is giving 5 tips for book club organizers. Enjoy!

5 Tips for Book Club Organizers

by Barbara Jolie

A little over two years ago, I started a book club. It was something I had been meaning to do for a while. I never really got around to doing it because I was always so busy with my job and school. Then I graduated from my master's program and switched jobs, started working from home, and started working less. After a few months of working from home, I began to feel lonely and a little bit weird. Sure, I saw my husband and kids every evening, but I spent the bulk of my time alone. I missed constantly interacting with people throughout my day, and I missed being mentally stimulated at school. So, I decided to finally start a book club. I asked a few of my friends to join, and set up an account on to attract other people in my area to the club.

I've now successfully run the book club for a while, and I have to say that running it has been more difficult than I expected. It's been a challenge to coordinate schedules with members and actually get people to show up to each meeting. It's even tough sometimes to decide on the book we're going to read each month. For the most part, however, being a book club organizer and member has been extremely rewarding. I've made new friends, learned new things, and been exposed to different types of literature. If you're in the process of starting a book club or will be starting one in the near future, here are a few tips I think will help you out:

1. Put forth plenty of effort advertising your book club. If just a handful of your friends join, your book club may not be able to take off. People lose interest and drop out of clubs. That's why it's best to have a pretty high number of people join your book club in the beginning. Only some of them will stick around. So, advertise your book club online and put up fliers at coffee shops, college campuses, and wherever else you think likeminded book lovers might be.

2. Make decisions as a group. It's absolutely essential that you decide where and when to meet and what to read as a group. Meeting at a centrally located library on Tuesday evenings may be more convenient for everyone in the group than meeting at your house on Sunday afternoons. Run your book club democratically and let everyone have a say. Being the organizer doesn't necessarily mean that you call all the shots.

3. Avoid reading too much, too fast. It won't necessarily be realistic to expect every member of your book club to read an entire novel each week. Oftentimes, people only have time to read a couple of chapters in between meetings. So, set realistic reading goals with the members of your book club. You don't want anyone to feel as though they can't keep up with the rest of the group.

4. Ditch controversial books. Political and religious books generally aren't the best types of books to read at a book club, unless the theme of your book club is specifically political or religious. Even if some of the members of your club express interest in reading a controversial book, it's best to try to convince those members to pick something else. You don't want people to end up arguing or becoming offended.

5. Give everyone a chance to speak. Inevitably, there will be a few people in your book club who are a little more extroverted than other members. As the organizer, it will be your job to remind everyone of the importance of giving each member a chance to speak. Encourage pauses and redirect the conversation when members go off on tangents. If you don't feel comfortable leading the group in this way, you may want to ask another member of the club to do so. Remember that you want your book club to be a place for all members to share, learn, grow, and have fun!

This is a guest post by freelance writer and full time blogger Barbara Jolie. Barbara enjoys sharing her knowledge on accredited online college classes and online education with her blogging community. You can reach her at .

Thank you Barbara for writing a guest post for Me and Reading!

Happy reading!


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