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10 Tips for Starting a Book Club

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Dear Dr. Dave & Dr. Dee,

A friend wants me to help her start a book club. I have no idea of how to start, and neither does she. Do you have any suggestions?


Book club hopefuls

Dear Book club hopefuls,

Book clubs are a great way to meet people who share similar interests - books! You can join one or more book clubs in your city, go online to join clubs, or start your own.

Below are some tips for starting a book club.

1. Focus of the book club: can be general reading, best sellers, prize winning or specific genres such as mysteries, romance, children's books, science fiction, or nonfiction.

2. Location: either someone's home or public facility such as a community center, local bookstore or library.

3. Number of members: 6 to unlimited. But, it depends on the location. For example, if the meeting is in someone's home, then small a group of 6-8 works best. Larger groups can be accommodated in public facilities.

4. Recruitment: how many members and types of members will determine the method of recruitment (i.e. open to all, or for women only, children included, targeting teenagers, or retired folks). Notify your friends and family, or advertise in the local newspaper, school, college, library, bookstore, church, or community center news.

5. Refreshments: light snacks and drinks add to a more relaxed atmosphere which is conducive for discussions. You can have a pot-luck where everyone brings something, rotate the food responsibility to one or more persons, or folks can chip in some money to cover expenses. If the location is at a book store, then there might be a cafe section where people can purchase their own food and drink.

6. Points for discussion: the author, book themes, characters/plot, specific passages, what you liked or disliked about the book.

7. Moderator: it is important to designate a discussion leader (or rotate the responsibility) in order to help move the meeting along, guide the discussion points, make sure everyone has a chance to speak, and keep within the time frame of the meeting.

8. Frequency of meetings: book clubs often meet once a month. But in order to allow enough time for everyone to obtain and read the upcoming book for discussion, clubs can meet anywhere from once a week to every other month to only twice a year, depending on the member's desires and availability.

9. Length of meetings: generally two hours, but anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on the host availability and group consensus.

10. Day of the Week and Time: consistency is important. The meeting day and time depends on the host and consensus of the group and can vary from a weekend afternoon to an evening during the week.