Book Club Ideas

I saw several presentations on book clubs from graduate students at UW-Madison when I was there for a week last summer. Two of them were about very successful book clubs. The reason they were so successful, I believe, was that they featured people reading their own books rather than reading one singular book.

One of them met in a bar – this was a very successful program. (Do I need to say more about it?) There was an outdoor garden area where a librarian would come and facilitate discussion, asking questions so there was no stale air. This could work for both kinds of book clubs – 1 book or many individual books. It’s so much more fun to dish about characters and plot when your tongue is a little bit looser. They did this on a night that the bar would be slow, like Tuesday nights, dso that way the library was promoted in a different area of town than usual and the bar got some extra customers that may not typically go out on a Tuesday night… or more often if they decide that they like that particular bar.

The other book club idea is much more passive. Make a slip that says the patron’s name and phone number, book title and author, gives a 5 star rating chart, and space for a short description. Those who fill this out enter it into a bucket and each month the lucky slip of paper drawn wins chamber bucks to use around town! I LOVE this idea! The patrons feel closer to the town through their experience at the library and with reading! Also, these slips of paper, the names and phone numbers can be cut off of the top and the book review can be placed into a photo album (if they’re perfectly sized right) for a book of recommendations to sit at the desk for when people don’t know what to get! The recommendations come from people in their own library, they just don’t know who! (Or if you’re really worried about privacy, someone can type them up, but people really don’t pay THAT much attention to the handwriting of others anymore.) Rather than chamber bucks, you could also do $5 gift cards or something. It depends on how much chamber bucks your city is willing to give up too, as to how much the patrons could win.

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