Book Groups

Q. A new resident inquired whether our library had any book clubs.  The library in the town she moved from supports several and she had found hers to be a congenial way to explore books and reading.  What's involved in starting one?

A. Book clubs are indeed offered at many public libraries, and provide a forum where readers can come together and talk about books and the reading experience. Usually each group has a number of participants who read and talk about books from a list or specific topic--and it certainly would be a good way for someone new to your town to meet her neighbors! There are many resources to guide you, including the wiki page on book discussion groups, prepared by us--but extensively augmented with practical information by an anonymous editor (thank you!).

However, a number of cities, schools, college campuses, churches, organizations, and even conferences have used the “One Book” model as a start for discussing books. These groups may meet at the same location on a regular basis, or may rotate the location, such as coffee shops, libraries, or individual homes. ALA's Public Programs Office has developed several resources for librarians building community-wide reading programs, and the Library of Congress Center for the Book keeps a list of programs and books covered. A post on Book Group Buzz, the blog on book groups from Booklist, listed some of the books selected by communities for the 2010 "one book" programs.

In addition to library-supported book groups, there are many, many independent book groups.  Many libraries support these readers by assembling and circulating "gab bags", or a kit with multiple copies of a title, plus the discussion guide; see the link at the bottom of the wiki page.