"Book Club to Go!" Kits
Alexandria Library offers dozens of “Book Clubs to Go!” kits, providing patrons and book club members with everything they need to begin and run a book club of their own. The kits can also be used by existing book clubs looking for book titles. The book club kit titles were selected from among the thousands of generous donations that the Alexandria Library receives yearly from patrons.
Each book club kit contains:
- Five or more copies of the book.
- A binder that contains tips for starting a book club, author information, discussion questions, review(s), and a list of titles.
- A canvas tote bag(s) to hold materials.
Please note the following rules:
- Kits can be checked out for six weeks.
- Kits may be renewable, if there are no holds.
- All books must be returned in the condition in which they were checked out.
- Late kits will accrue a late fee of $.35 per day.
- Lost or damaged tote bag(s) will be charged a replacement fee of $6.
- Lost or damaged binders(s) will be charged a replacement fee of $8.
Tips for Starting a Book Club
Recruiting Book Club Members
When starting your own group, it is important to think about how many people you want to participate. The size will likely be dictated by the place where the group meets. If you plan on hosting meetings in your own living room, for example, you may find it difficult to accommodate more than seven or eight members. On the other hand, if your group is too small, discussion may suffer, especially if you don’t have perfect attendance at each meeting.
Once you have a solid group of people together, it’s time to set some guidelines for your group. It is a good idea to do this at your first meeting. How often will the group meet? Most book clubs typically meet once a month and discuss one book per meeting. Decide on a process for choosing the books you will read. Think about where you will meet. While the living room is the obvious choice for a place to meet, you should also consider such places as a library meeting room, restaurant, or community center. Be sure to set a consistent time and place for meetings, so that you do not have to go through the process of scheduling each meeting.
Each book club kit contains a set of questions about the book. These questions are a wonderful way to get the discussion flowing and keep it on track, but be ready to let the discussion flow naturally. Often you’ll find that the questions that were prepared will come up naturally as part of the discussion. Remind members that good books invite various interpretations and that there are no right or wrong answers. Don’t be afraid to criticize the book, but try to get beyond the “I just didn’t like it” statement. What was it about the book that made it unappealing? Some of the best book discussions center on books that many group members disliked. Sometimes an author uses the structure of the book to illustrate an important concept or to create a mood. Notice how the author structured the book. Try to keep a balance in the discussion between personal revelations and reactions and a response to the book itself.