Welcome to my greatest passion in life, BOOKS! Come on in kick off your shoes, grab a cup of tea [Java] and join me while I discuss my life and books that I read, authors I love or dislike, post reviews, ask for your opinions, just chat about stuff, and maybe swap a book or two.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Some Great Book Group Ideas

Today I was blog surfing and found a new way of reading and joining a book group. Country Girl at Heart has a Blogger Book CLub where you read 1-3 chapters a week from an online free book and then post about it... now its free no unnecessaryt shopping for MORE books to put onto our shelves, and its fun.. Go and try her out...
Some ideas if you want to start a reading group:
  • The size for a lively discussion is around six to ten people, and when thinking of how many members to include in your group, you need to take into account other factors, such as hectic schedules, children issues, likes and dislikes of the chosen books, unanticipated conflicts, or varying interest in topics chosen. This may mean that 3 or 4 people may be unable to attend any given meeting. Hence, the best strategy is to have enough people join the group so that at each meeting you are assured approximately 6 to 8 participants.
  • Consider having a total membership of 10 to 12 to insure optimum attendance at every meeting.
  • How Often Should You Meet? For most groups, meeting more than once a month would be a struggle, and if you meet less, the group will never get any momentum going. It is a good idea to meet on some predictable day, such as the first Wednesday of every month. Many work scedules play a heavy role in the time and day that is picked or church obligations.
  • Where Should You Meet? You could rotate among members' homes or use library rooms, coffee chops, book stores, local community centers, churches, etc. Of course, online discussions are a possibility for all types of groups.
  • How Much Will it Cost? There are various costs associated with having a reading group, depending on how you choose to do things. Obviously, the books cost money but there may be other costs and a club dues might be the way to cover some of these costs like; if you mail out reminders, there are the costs of printing and mailing, food at the meetings, [you can also do pot-luck style which is good for busy members who don't eat before the meetings] there might also be a cost for where you meet if it is at an outside facitlity. An e-mail list or phone tree can be fairly simple to set up and easy to administer, thus saving on paper and mailing costs. You could ask members for a one-time fee to cover six months of postage, snacks, etc. Or, have a monthly dues or ask each member to supply self-addressed-stamped envelopes.
  • Members' Responsibilities; Of course, the most obvious responsibility of members is to read the book. Other ground rules should be discussed among the group at the first meeting. The discussion might include issues of punctuality. At what time will meetings begin and end? What are the expectations of group members regarding level and consistency of participation (what if members have to miss a session? what if they miss several in a row? what if someone only comes once in a while?) How will we deal with the cost issues? Should members be allowed to bring their children? Are guests allowed?
    It is a good idea to discuss all of these issues at the first meeting of the group and to make decisions, as a group, about such things as location, food, cost-sharing, how books will be chosen, whether there will be one facilitator or if the role will rotate among members, as well as the issues mentioned above.
  • The Role of the Facilitator; The facilitator may be the same person each time, or members may choose a rotation system for the role, depending on the needs and wants of the group. The facilitator is responsible for:
  1. Monitoring start and stop times
  2. Encouraging dialogue from all participants
  3. Reviewing the book carefully for specific discussion topics
  4. Identifying the next facilitator if the group uses a rotation for the facilitator role
  5. Questions to ask at the first meeting
  6. Where and when will we meet?
  7. How will we notify people of meeting locations, times, and reading selections?
  8. What are the costs involved and how will we divide them up?
  9. What the dues will be to each member?
  10. How will we choose books to read?
  11. What are our basic ground rules?
  12. Will we have a single facilitator or will the role rotate among members?
  13. How will we purchase the books, individually or as a group?
  14. Make sure the books are available at all times.
  15. Plan accordingly, and order the books about 4 - 6 weeks before you actually need them.
  16. Keep in mind that not everyone in the group needs to have read the book completely; often the discussion of the ideas in the book is robust enough on its own merits. In other words, don't cancel the reading group just because not everyone has had a chance nor the time to read the book.
  17. Ask and encourage each participant to participate.
  18. Maybe start a RR {Round Robin , going around the room asking questions or having that member discuss their likes and dislikes of the book
  19. Determine the next book, and set the meeting time
  20. It is often a good idea to set the meeting time up to three months in advance, on the same day of the week and time on the calendar for each month. Be sure to email a schedule to each member or snail mail it to them.

    These are a few simple rules for groups in your local area, looking on the web is a good source for getting your questions and learning more about your group...Good luck and let me know how it goes, and your group name and place and I will post it here for others to see...


Hootin'Anni said...

Hi! I just added you to the player list for Fun Monday.

Country Girl At Heart said...

Thanks, the post is great and thanks for the link to my post. I checked out the additional links and they were very informative.

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