The Clarence Regional Libraries are proud to encourage reading and community involvement through our support of new and existing Book Clubs
What is a Book Club?
What do the Clarence Regional Libraries offer our Book Clubs?
Guidelines for Book Clubs supported by the Clarence Regional Libraries
General advice for Book Clubs
Book Club Sets available for loan – links to the library catalogue
Pinterest display of book club titles
What is a Book Club?
- A group of people who meet regularly to discuss a pre-selected book.
- Usually they meet monthly to understand, appreciate and talk about the book they have read.
- It is an opportunity to meet new people and discover new authors, share ideas and experiences about books and about our different lives.
- Book Clubs give you a reason to read and an opportunity to share.
- A chance to get in touch with reading people and be active in a local friendly group.
- An opportunity to understand, appreciate and talk about the books you read.
What does Clarence Regional Library offer to Book Clubs?
- The greatest advantage of joining a Book Club through Clarence Regional Libraries is that it’s free!
- Readers can enjoy the benefits of being part of a Book Club, without the expense of buying books every month.
- Your library has stacks of book club kits which consist of 10 books and can be borrowed by book clubs for up to 6 weeks.
- Book club gatherings and author visits are held often at your libraries and regular news and information will be sent to the clubs nominated contact person.
- We provide extended loan periods to Book Clubs.
- Each book club registers as a library ‘member’ designating the name and details of a contact person.
- Each club nominates a chosen ‘contact person’ whose name and contact details will appear on the registration..
- The contact person will sign the Book Club borrowers card and have responsibility for reserving kits for the club.
- The contact person for each Book Club will also liaise with library staff with any questions regarding reservations of future titles, book club events and news.
- The contact person is responsible for ensuring all copies of books are returned to the library by the due date, as one complete kit.
- The contact person can elect to have their contact details available within the library or on the Clarence Regional Library website for anyone wishing to enquire about joining their book club.
- Kits are packaged in library bags with a single barcode on a swing tag attached to the bag. These kits usually consist of multiple (normally 10) copies of a single title, but may be 10 different books with a common author or theme.
- Only book club kits can be borrowed on the book club library card.
- Clubs can borrow up to 2 kits at a time
- All kit items need to be returned at the same time to ensure smooth lending to the next club wishing to read that title.
- Only complete kits will be accepted.
- Book clubs will not be able to borrow if they have overdue items.
- The list of book club kits can be found on the catalogue. Click to view our current Book Club titles for loan>>
- Always reserve back up titles as there is no guarantee that the title will arrive on the exact date required. Library staff can assist with reserving titles.
- We welcome suggestions for new titles and any other comments you may have about the service.
- Clubs are asked to annually donate an agreed title in a new or ‘read once’ condition to help build the Book Club Collection.
- For smaller clubs the library will top up the kit to a total of 10 titles.
- It is a good idea to advise the library of the title your club is thinking of donating to ensure 1. the kit doesn’t already exist and 2. it hasn’t already been in the system.
- Book club events are held regularly in each Clarence Regional Library throughout the year.
- Member clubs will receive email advice of author visits and other library events.
Want to join a book club?
- Our libraries have existing clubs that meet at the library and welcome new members.
- Contact or visit your nearest Clarence Regional Library to find out when these clubs meet so that you can come along.
- To start a new book club, visit your library and ask about starting up.
For further information contact your nearest Clarence Regional Library Coordinator:
Grafton Library 66410100 or attend a Grafton Book Club meeting 1st Monday of every month
Maclean Library 66453611
Yamba Library 66462811
Iluka Library 66466542
Bellingen Library 66551744
Urunga Library 66572234
Dorrigo Library 66556444
Mobile Library 0409457606
We welcome suggestions for new titles and any other comments you may have about the service.
General advice for Book Clubs
- Optimum size is 8 to 15 people. If there are more than 15, there may not be enough time for everyone to talk; fewer than 8, the discussion may not be varied enough.
- Make it fun and relaxing. A book club is not school. There are no right or wrong answers.
- Choose books that make for a good discussion; liking the book is secondary.
- Encourage participants to come even if they haven’t finished the book.
- It’s not necessary to have book reviews, author biographies, or a list of questions. Each reader can bring one question they want answered.
- Use audiovisuals if they fit the discussion.
Choose the right book
- Book should have enough “oomph” to sustain discussion for at least 20 minutes. “Happy” books may not sustain discussion.
- Selecting titles for an entire year is a good idea.
- Use proportional voting to select books, so everyone has a say.
- Perhaps choose a topic and 3 books related to it.
- For variety, everyone might occasionally bring a different book instead of having one title under discussion.
Tips for the discussion
- Don’t begin by asking “Did you like the book?” Instead, end with that question.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- What struck you about the book?
- What was the theme?
- What was the author’s motivation? What was a particular character’s motivation?
- What was the significance of the title?
- A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines – “What was the lesson?”
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell or The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli – “Why that title?”
- A Dangerous Friend by Ward Just – “Who is the dangerous friend?”
- Discuss what the author did not say.
- Be mindful of group dynamics.
- Find a way to let everyone talk.
- Are individuals in the group enjoying the discussion?
- Draw out the timid and gently hold back the talkative ones. Read body language. For example, a person leaning forward wants to speak
- Have each person in the group ask a question.
- The discussion’s goal is to expand understanding of the book.
For more information and advice on how to start and run your Book Club, have a look at the Clarence Regional Library Book Club Kit, or the useful websites below.
- Bookgroup.info – Advice – Lots of excellent tips for starting up a group and keeping it running smoothly
- ReadingGroupGuides.com – Advice & Ideas – Expert advice for your reading group, whether your group is many years old or brand new, or even if you want to start a group from scratch.
Online / virtual book clubs:
- First Tuesday Book Club (ABC TV) – site includes discussion boards
- LibraryThing – check out the links to ‘Talk’ and ‘Groups’
- Oprah’s Book Club (Oprah Winfrey TV show)
Useful Book Club websites:
- Reading Group Guides.com
Over 3,500 guides for different titles are available at this site.
The Reading Group site from BookBrowse.com. The unique feature of this site is that excerpts are included for all featured titles, as well as reading guides and author interviews.
- The Great Books Foundation
The Great Books Reading & Discussion programs “introduce adult participants to substantial works of literature, philosophy, economics, political science, and psychology.”
SparkNotes offer free Study Guides that are just as useful for book discussion groups as they are for students. Available titles cover a broad range of literature including contemporary classics.
- Reading Group Choices
A large collection of reading group guides searchable by author or title.
- Random House Reading Group
One of the best publisher’s sites, Random House presents Reading Guides for books by many of the finest contemporary writers.
- Penguin Putnam Reading Group Guides
This publisher’s site offers comprehensive reading group guides on titles by renowned contemporary authors.
- Oprah’s Book Club
The popular TV host’s book club.
- LibraryThing – catalog your books online and connect with people who read the same thing
A book social networking site.
- Goodreads – a book social networking site
Goodreads is a privately run site where you can see what your friends are reading and vice versa. You can create “bookshelves” to organize what you’ve read (or want to read) and you can comment on each other’s reviews.
- BBC World Service Book Club
Every month BBC World Service Radio hosts a discussion with an internationally acclaimed author about one of their best-known books. Submit your questions to the author online.
- Lit Lovers
An online community featuring book discussion guides, recommendations, and literature courses.
If you have any other useful websites for Book Clubs please let our staff know.