We're happy to help you start and manage your own book club! Private Book Club Services include:
Hold one of your meetings at the Library and enjoy a Private Book Club Open House.
Your Librarians will share information on using the Library and the Book Club Collection, how to download eBooks and eAudiobooks, previews of upcoming events, and guidance for picking titles for your book club to read.
Your are welcome to provide your own light refreshments. Alcohol is not permitted.
We reserve multiple copies of your chosen title so that ideally everyone in your book club can easily get a book.
Copies will be available approximately one month ahead of your meeting date. Books are due five days after your meeting date.
You and your book club members can pick up and check them out at your convenience from Lake Forest Library (even if your members have cards from other area libraries). Your book club will have its own shelf space in the Library.
Keep in mind that we do not check whether someone is a member of your book club, meaning that anyone can borrow titles on your book club shelf.
If a member of your book club would like to read ahead, they can ask us to place a hold on next month's title for them.
Our Book Club Collection is a convenient source for multiple copies of titles we recommend for book clubs. These books have content that is readable and leads to interesting discussions.
We are happy to provide other recommendations:
- Complete our Personalized Recommendation webform
- Visit a service desk at the Library
- Contact us by phone, email, or live chat
Keep in mind that multiple copies of new, bestselling titles are not readily available for us to borrow from other libraries for your book club. Please choose titles published at least 6 months before your discussion date.
Many of the titles in our Book Club Collection have discussion questions available.
For other titles, we are happy to help you find discussion questions and other information to enrich your book club meeting.
We have several ongoing book discussion groups at the Library. Your Librarians are familiar with the challenges of starting and running a book club, and are happy to share insights and ideas.
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Starting a Group
Decide how many people you want in your book club and stick to that number. It is hard to have a meaningful discussion with 40 people. 8–15 people is a great number to start.
Decide when you will meet and for how long. If meeting monthly is too much, meet every six weeks or every other month.
Decide where you'll have your meetings. Rotating members' houses? Panera? If you hold meetings at members' houses, do they provide food and beverages?
Decide on a theme and tone for the club. Will you read mostly mysteries, literary fiction, inspirational, nonfiction? You don't need to strictly stick to these kinds of books, but it helps give your group structure and will give your group more focus when trying to decide on a title.
Hosting a Discussion
The host for that month may select a number of questions, write each on an index card, and pass them out. Each member (or team of 2 or 3) takes a card, asks the group the question, and leads that discussion.
If you're hosting or leading, do some research on the book, the author, reviews, etc.
Allow time for socializing in the beginning. It is going to happen either way, so just build it into the schedule. Set a time limit of 30–45 minutes though, so that you can get to the actual discussion.
Don't feel you have to talk about each question! If the group doesn't have a lot to say about a topic or doesn't seem interested in the question, move on to a question that gets them talking.
If you're hosting or leading, consider making food or playing music that pairs with themes in the book.
Have each member submit an anonymous list of books they liked with a short summary. Drop it into a bowl or bag and at the end of each meeting pull out a title for the next meeting.
Substitute a movie for a book for a change of pace.
If reading a book is too time consuming, try podcasts or long magazine articles for discussion.
When deciding on a book, make sure it offers topics for discussion. Books that will stimulate a good discussion may contain:
- Complex plots or characters
- Complicated conflicts
- Inspiring storylines
- Hanging endings
- Controversial subject matter
- Periods of history
- Social commentary
Don't choose books that are really long. You want to make sure people have enough time to read the book. Set a page number limit for your group and stick to it. 350–400 pages is a good amount.
The following websites are some of our favorite go-to resources for book summaries, author information, reading guides, and discussion questions.
Penguin Random House Reading Group Guides
American Library Association Book Discussion Groups
Where Writers Win book club questions