If you love books and are interested in meeting other people with similar interests, then it could be a great idea to join a book club. Sometimes there are a number of different book clubs to choose from, but if there are no book clubs in your area that you are interested in, then the best idea might be to start a book club of your own! In today’s post, we’ll take a look at some of the tips you need to host your own book club as well as the amenities you want to offer when you host a book club.
At New Psalmist Retreat and Baptist Church (NPRMC), we are proud to offer a wide variety of meeting room sizes in our conference center in Baltimore. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your free tour.
1. Choose a Theme
Since you will be hosting the book club, it’s up to you to decide what the theme will be. Do you want to focus on a particular subject matter, certain authors, serious literature, or lighter reads? No matter what theme you choose, you are sure to find others who have the same interests and would love to meet to discuss what is being read. Depending on the demographic you hope to achieve in your book club, make sure that the theme you choose will lend itself to that.
2. Determine Group Size
The size of your book club is important to determine, as it will impact the size of the meeting room you will require. For example, not everyone in the book club will have a living room that is large enough to accommodate large groups of people. You don’t want some members to feel burdened by frequent hosting, nor do you want others to feel left out if they are unable to. A group that is too large will be prone to cross-talking or a breakdown in the discussion. Make sure to keep these factors in mind as you determine the right size for your book club.
If you find that the size of your group is larger than the spaces you have in the group members’ homes, then contact NPRMC for a tour of our facilities. We’d love to show you all the meeting rooms we have to offer in our conference center.
3. Share Responsibility
The size of your group will also play into the potential for sharing hosting responsibilities. It’s important to delegate hosting, food, and beverage responsibilities so that these do not regularly fall to the same few people. While there will likely be group members who love to host, it’s important to respect their time and resources by creating a rotating hosting schedule. On the flip side, there are others in the group who would probably prefer not to host. If they have plenty of advance notice of when they will host, they are likely to feel less overwhelmed.
4. Offer Food and Drinks
As you establish your vision for the book club, you’ll be able to clearly communicate what is expected as far as refreshments go. Do you want simple platters of cheese and crackers or more involved offerings that resemble a meal? Be sure to accept input from the group members as you determine what will work best. If possible, try to divide the responsibilities for hosting and refreshments so that one person doesn’t have to provide everything.
5. Expand Your Circle
As you begin to consider who to ask to join your book club, think about inviting people who are outside of your immediate circle of friends. Consider adding new acquaintances, or friends of friends to the group. A book club is an easy and informal way to meet new people and maybe expand your circle of friends. An added bonus is that there will likely be some new perspectives that will help make the discussions interesting.
6. Establish Ground Rules
One of the most basic rules that will help your meetings to run more smoothly, is to ensure that non-book club members are not present. Any family members or roommates who are not part of the book club should either leave the house for the allotted time or simply retire to a bedroom until you are done. This will help to reduce any interruptions or distractions. A few other important rules to consider establishing include:
- Respect others’ opinions – it’s okay to disagree with someone else on their interpretation of a book, but the book club should never be an opportunity to insult or shame someone for thinking differently.
- Discussions are only on the book – if there are group members who continually try to derail book discussions with social conversations, then you will need to be gentle but firm and remind them that you are all meeting to discuss the book only.
- Everyone has a chance to share – sometimes people with dominating personalities can be difficult to reign in. Rather than let them run roughshod over the group, you could emphasize that everyone needs a chance to share, or you could create an object that is passed around to signify when someone has the right to speak.
7. Compile Discussion Questions
If you feel comfortable creating your own discussion questions, then have fun doing that! For those of you who would prefer not to come up with your own, many books actually come with discussion questions already prepared either in the back of the book or on the author’s website. Make sure to get copies to all of your group members in advance so that everyone has time to prepare their thoughts and ideas for the discussion.
At NPRMC, we are proud to be the second-largest conference center in Baltimore, as this means that we have a wide variety of meeting rooms to accommodate groups of various sizes. Not only that, but we can also offer a number of other amenities, including catering, audio-visual capabilities, and more. No matter the size of your book club, we are sure to have what you need. Please contact us to learn more and to request a proposal.