Bookclubs - How to Get Set Up

Learn how to set up a bookclub at work - keep learning, take notice, get connected, have fun! Reading can be for learning and pleasure, it can help you develop a new skill or hobby, help you with a life event (children, illness, travel, stress, it helps you pass the time if you are waiting, relaxing and is good for mental health. It may even help you sleep better but avoid reading from electronic devices before bedtime!

Why not set up a bookclub in your team or department - they're a a great way to connect with your colleagues and being part of the club helps to keep you motivated and broadens your reading choices.  


How to form a book club

Making the group work

This advice is based on the experience of several long-standing book groups who were asked what had worked for their groups, what problems they'd encountered and how they'd resolved them. Here are their tips for starting up a group and keeping it running smoothly.

You may want to think about:

  • your meeting place
  • frequency of meetings
  • duration of meetings
  • managing cancellations/change of book if unavailable etc.
  • being heard (too large a group may pose problems here)
  • socialising together outside of the bookgroup e.g. weekends away


How to choose the book

There are lots of different ways to choose the books but a popular method is for the host to choose it (or to offer a choice of several and then vote for one) or rotate the choice with a different member each time. The choices are usually based on:

  • reviews read in newspapers and magazines
  • reviews and recommendations from online dedicated book retailers
  • reviews heard on the radio or television eg. Radio 4 Bookclub, Open Book, Richard and Judy
  • past or present prize-winning novels (Man Booker, Costa etc)
  • old favourites that we would like to re-read and share


What to discuss

Taking down short notes on a postcard while reading the book helps enormously when it comes to later discussion. Points to discuss could include:

  • your emotional response to the book
  • characterisation
  • themes
  • most memorable parts (descriptions/dialogue)
  • strengths and weaknesses


How to buy the books

Buying hardbacks can be expensive so, for reasons of economy, you may want to restrict your books to paperbacks. Availability can sometimes be a problem either from your local library or online. Don't be afraid the buy second hand copies from online retailers as the quality is usually very good and the product description usually matches what you have purchased.


Borrow books from your library

Many libraries hold multiple copies of books which they lend to groups and some will order in copies on request. Ask at your local library. Many books can also be borrowed as e-books and downloaded directly to your device - downloload the Free Libby App from the App Store . If it's been years since you visited your local library why not pop in and see what they have to offer. Some libraries also run book clubs and other offer creative writing classes, knit and natter groups.


Click on the image below to learn more from the Libraries NI webpage.


Read Yourself Well

Remember that public libraries stock a wide range of books on health and wellbeing, to learn more about the 'Read Yourself Well' project and the click Here


The Reading Agency 

The Reading Agency is a useful website for anyone interested in reading


Happy reading!