Book Club

I’ve been thinking about what Kristin said in class on Monday about how she always felt like book clubs weren’t for her, that she wasn’t the target audience for them. It sounded like a lot of people in class, both male and female, felt that way. I find this so interesting because I feel that we as a class would be an excellent and highly desirable audience for a book club. Our reasons for not participating may be varied, but it’s certainly not because we don’t read or think critically about what we read.

I’ve never joined a book club because I’ve never been drawn to the sales pitch of any of the ones I’ve encountered. The ones at my old public library were clearly directed at very specific audiences, none of which included me. There was the Teen book club. I was interested in the book, but not interested in discussing it as an adult in a room of teenagers. There was the Mom’s Day Out book club, and the Retiree book club. While those weren’t the exact names of the book clubs, they all met during the day, which meant that even had the book selection appealed (it didn’t) I wouldn’t have been able to go anyway.

Plus, there’s those odious book club discussion questions that come at the end of practically every book these days. Those questions aren’t doing book clubs any favors, in my opinion. If I see a book on a discussion club list that already has questions in the back, I assume that those are the questions that are going to be used. If that’s the case then I’m not interested in wasting my time.

I really like the idea of having discussion groups with very short readings or a somewhat related series of very short readings. The success of something like this would depend largely on your audience and the knowledge and expertise they bring to the table, but a pitch like this could be very enticing in the right community.

I also love the idea of a professional development book club. Especially as we transition from students to professionals, we will no longer have the same kind of immediate forum for discussion on recent happenings in LibraryLand. Talking through ideas really helps me to understand issues and solidify my opinions in a different way than simply reading blog posts or articles does. I like this, and I want one in my future place of employment.

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4 thoughts on “Book Club

  1. Kristin says:

    I love professional book clubs. They make it so that I actually *read* something that has often been lingering in my to-read-someday pile.

  2. linguomancer says:

    I think you’re spot on with this entry. It seems to me like a chicken-egg question: does the library have book clubs targeted at moms and retirees because the library is being influenced by the existing stereotypes or is it because the stereotypes are already keeping away everyone other than those groups?

    I’ve had similar problems in the past, with feeling like the library has not planned any events targeted at my age group or held during a time of the day when I could attend. And I really hate those typical book discussion questions. These all seem like really important considerations if we hope to change people’s perception of book clubs and library events.

  3. katzalot says:

    I think you make a great point about the age targeted groups. I think often times young professionals are ignored because there is an assumption that they have their own social network that perhaps the library does not need to supplement.
    I agree too about the questions at the back of the book. While a great jump off point, I wonder how many book clubs only use those questions and only discuss the questions in the way the book suggests they do(with the helpful suggestions, or interviews).

  4. Caroline says:

    I have been thinking a bit about how to create a book club/discussion group that people (primarily younger adults) would want to take part in. How complicated would it be to empower patrons to create their own, or at least provide input as to what they want? Of course, the more people you deal with, the more complicated it will get, but it seems like a likely way to give patrons ownership of a program and by extension, more investment in the library.

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