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Care & feeding of book clubs


Published on

ILA presentation 10/14/14

Published in: Education
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Care & feeding of book clubs

  1. 1. The Care & Feeding of Book Clubs Tish Calhamer--Gail Borden Public Library Lynnanne Pearson--Skokie Public Library Carol Shoenthal--Bartlett Public Library
  2. 2. Why are Book Clubs Necessary?
  3. 3. Strengthen community ties
  4. 4. Through engagement with reading and discussion, book clubs: ● introduce people of varied backgrounds whose paths might not have crossed ● build trust and understanding between fellow readers, who are all part of the whole community ● support their public libraries--Book Clubs participants are some of the greatest library advocates you can cultivate! ● add to everyone’s enrichment and understanding of literature ● encourage community building through the sharing of personal stories ● may lead to participants becoming involved with other local groups and being more active in the community
  5. 5. Promote literacy
  6. 6. Book Clubs ● challenge readers to read a book that may be outside of their regular reading tastes ● motivate readers to finish a common book by a select date ● encourage active use of the public library ● encourage members to read and suggest titles they read independently ● reinforce the habit of reading for pleasure
  7. 7. Helping your book clubs to succeed
  8. 8. Develop library resources and services for book clubs ● Advise clubs on good, discussable books ● Buy or ILL multiple copies of books ● Write discussion questions or link to sites with good questions ● Establish Book Club Collections
  9. 9. What is a good, discussible title candidate? ● At least 2 years old if planning to ILL ● Consider length of book ○ 500+ page titles may not be completed - gauge your group or make it a 2-month read ● An enjoyable reading experience does not always lead to a good discussion title ○ It doesn’t have to be painful or depressing, but it needs to have “tooth”
  10. 10. Use Social Media ● Use Pinterest to create book discussion boards ● Use #bookdiscussion for tweets about your picks. ● Use Skype to have a virtual author visit
  11. 11. Book Club meet-and-greets
  12. 12. Author Visits
  13. 13. Writing Good Discussion Questions ● Turn your opinions into questions ● Edit publishers questions so they’re short ● Ask open-ended questions ● Focus questions on themes and characters not plot ● Select your first question beforehand. ● Never ask “What did you think of the book?” ● Prep enough questions (10-20) so you feel comfortable o Don’t force the discussion to get to every question ● Group questions by subject, theme or characters
  14. 14. The Leader/Reader dynamic
  15. 15. Leading with style ● Analyze your book discussion leadership style: Are you a leader, a member, a facilitator, or a professor? ● Strike the balance between leading/guiding and letting your readers come up with their own insights and observations. ● Avoid the temptation to “teach” the book. ● Use phrases of encouragement to lead a thread without dominating it.
  16. 16. Discussion Stoppers
  17. 17. Member who can’t stop “contributing” Wait until they take a breath and say... ● “You’ve made an interesting point about X. What does everyone else think? ● “Let’s hear from someone who hasn’t had a chance to tak. What do you think of X?” ● “Hang on, so-and-so was saying something. Let’s hear her finish”
  18. 18. Member who uses any opening to carry discussion off topic Wait until they take a breath and say… ● “Thanks for sharing. Let’s get back to the book.” And/Or ● Build in time to exchange personal stories and gab at the beginning or end of the discussion Let Me Tell You About My Grandchildre n!
  19. 19. Shy People ● Pay attention to body language. Sometimes quiet people won’t jump in, but want to talk. ● Observe the room and be prepared to draw the shy people in by calling directly on them. o I’ve noticed that you’ve been quiet (insert name here), what did you think of X?
  20. 20. Introduce the “Talk About” ● Begin session by going around the circle ● Each member comments briefly (<minute) on reaction to book and 1-2 points o Just don’t open with “What did you think of the book?” ● Open discussion is fueled by points raised ● Ice is broken for reticent members making them more likely to contribute
  21. 21. Shy Group If the whole group is quiet… ● Don’t be afraid of silence. Sometimes people need time to formulate their thoughts. ● But don’t answer your own questions or allow the discussion to become a Q & A with you. If the group asks you questions, turn it around: “Wow, that’s a great question. What do you folks think?” ● Try a smaller room. It will be more intimate for your members.
  22. 22. When talk becomes heated ● “There obviously are strong opinions about this topic, but I don’t think we’ll come to an agreement today. Let’s move on to…” ● Stop anyone who makes offensive remarks.
  23. 23. Fixing a Group
  24. 24. One librarian’s story of what went wrong and how she tried to fix it
  25. 25. Once Upon a Time…
  26. 26. So What Happened?
  27. 27. With apologies to Elvis We're caught in a trap, but we can’t walk out Because I love you too much, book discussions.
  28. 28. Time
  29. 29. Classroom
  30. 30. Boredom
  31. 31. Time to shake things up!
  32. 32. Goals of Shake-Up • Engaged, respectful conversations • Diversity in book selection • Diversity in discussion participants • Reasonable amount of staff time expended • Engaged, enthusiastic discussion leaders
  33. 33. What to change • Change books discussed • Change when meetings are held • Change where meetings are held • Change frequency of meetings
  34. 34. Changes made
  35. 35. Branded Groups Chapters Reads literary favorites, award-winners, and thought-provoking nonfiction. Top Shelf Reads popular recent fiction and under-the-radar gems
  36. 36. Retraining Staff
  37. 37. Patrons’ Reactions
  38. 38. Lessons learned • Change is hard (duh) • Have a plan and believe in your plan • Be flexible with plan and modify as year goes on • Don’t be afraid to experiment!
  39. 39. Breaking the Book Discussion Mold
  40. 40. Location, Location, Location
  41. 41. LitLounge • Monthly group • Meets in a bar • Reads hipper books • Skokie Public Library and Morton Grove Public Library in partnership
  42. 42. Other Barfly Book Discussions • Genre X from Oak Park Public Library • Book Lovers Club from Berwyn Public Library • Books on Tap from Northbrook Public Library • Books & Brews from the Ela Area Public Library
  43. 43. Science Park Book Discussion • Meets at Searle Science Park In Skokie • Quarterly lunch time book discussion • For employees of this Park • Reads a mix of fiction and nonfiction
  44. 44. Senior Centers: opportunities for service Book Talks delivered with a selection of titles Select a variety of genres ■ Ask! Do not guess what would appeal to seniors – they’ll surprise you ■ Leave genre/title/author suggestion forms Vary the format ■ Large print ■ Audio books Keep it brief or you’ll lose them! ■ Be clear and concise ■ Slow down and enunciate Deliver fewer titles more frequently ■ Gives feedback on what circulates ■ Reduces loss
  45. 45. Building resident-led discussions ● Encourage ○ Explore genre options with group at the start ○ Cover the suggestions for selecting discussible titles ● Facilitate ○ Provide list of successful titles that meet their genre ○ Offer to ILL titles for them ○ Provide discussion questions if desired ○ Offer to have a librarian train them or to do a book talk
  46. 46. Change what you read
  47. 47. Pages Through History
  48. 48. Down to Business • Quarterly discussion group • Led by Business Librarian for business community • Reads business books
  49. 49. Trashy Book Club
  50. 50. Culinary Clubs & Cookbook Discussion Groups • Cookbook Club of LaGrange Public Library • Culinary Book Discussion Group of the St. Louis Library • Cookbook Book Club of Massillon Public Library, OH
  51. 51. Other Ideas to Try • “Real Stories” –Biography/Memoirs, narrative nonfiction, microhistories, etc. • YA for adults • Doorstop Discussions • Book/Movie Discussion Groups • Intergenerational discussions
  52. 52. One Book, One Community Programs
  53. 53. One Book, One Community Programs • Apply for the official NEA “Big Read” grant • Develop your own local, grassroots community reading event • Partnering is the key to success • Choose a title or topic that will involve all ages and backgrounds
  54. 54. Big Reads: Go Big & Go Out Into Your Community
  55. 55. Hispanic Heritage Month bilingual book discussion 2 languages + 2 cultures + 1 book = 1 wonderful, insightful discussion:
  56. 56. Coming Together in Skokie
  57. 57. What is it • Exploring a culture through one common book • 6 week program • Events are held at different locations throughout Skokie • Events allow for further engagement and education about the culture
  58. 58. Every CTIS has: • Big Kick-off event in late January • Authors visits in late February/early March • Program booklet • Book discussions • Multi-civic agencies collaboration
  59. 59. Book Selection • Living author • Author able to travel to library and schools • Author from chosen culture • Needs to appeal to broader readership • Needs to be discussable • 300-400 pg in paperback
  60. 60. Let’s kickstart some ideas! Q & A 1. What are some great ideas for book clubs that your library already does? 2. What are some fabulous things for book clubs you wish you could do?
  61. 61. Contact us @: Tish Calhamer Gail Borden Public Library 847-289-5838 Lynnanne Pearson Skokie Public Library 847-324-3177 Carol Shoenthal Bartlett Public Library District 630-837-5002 --