Stories are always better when they are shared with others, and creating a book club is a great way to for association members to network and foster relationships – either in person or online.
Not sure where to start? These steps will help you get going.
Set goals: What do you want to get out of it? And what do you want your members to get out of it? This is also a great time to decide the tone or the theme (e.g., Focus on one genre, or Amazon free-for-all, or best sellers, etc.).
Inform your members: Let members know about your book club to see who is interested. Note: Keeping the book club between 8 and 15 people will ensure everyone gets a chance to speak.
When? Agreeing on a time can be the toughest part with everyone’s busy schedule. After dinner when the younger ones have gone to bed seems to be a popular choice among other book clubs.
Where? Consider hosting the club at the association headquarters if possible, or pick a venue that offers adult beverages, and snacks to help the conversation flow. A library provides a nice, neutral location for keeping it simple.
Communicate guidelines: This is a perfect time to give the group an idea of what to expect via email.
– How often will you meet? Typically, once a month is good.
– How long will meetings be? Two hours is the norm.
– Other information the club needs to know.
Meet! The first meeting should be the time to discuss how books and the moderators will be chosen.
– Use the committee to pick books or book genres.
– Will everyone get a chance to moderate, or only a select few who have the time?
Take your club online: Create a virtual book club for members in different parts of the country.
– Find websites that are free and easy to join to allow members of your group to post on a communal site, like bigtent.com or my-bookclub.com (this also eliminates many emails back and forth).
– Become an Oprah.com member and start your own discussion thread anytime with your members around the globe and never worry about a meeting time or place!
Last but not least, for local clubs always be sure to have discussion questions ready before you meet to ensure a lively discussion among your book club members.