One area the Clermont County Public Library has not yet explored is resources for book clubs. While they do have meeting rooms available and resources such as NoveList Plus, the “kits” offered by the library are limited to early literacy for a single family. As noted by Hoffert in 2006, now “some libraries are so committed to book clubs that they offer the members special collections or kits” which can include multiple “copies of the book, plus discussion questions and background information on the author”. The journal also notes that “librarians can join Random [House]’s reader’s group advisory list to receive galleys, backup materials, and a monthly e-newsletter”, providing further material for book club consideration.
Type of Library:
Clermont County Public Library is a system of multiple public library branches. It is a free-to-use library in Ohio which services all age groups.
While the public library services all age groups and demographics in the area, initial implementation of this should be targeted to a specific audience. Specifically, kits should be compiled for high school through young adult age ranges, as the library already has alternate resources available for early literacy, special needs patrons, and educators. While the library does have events for those in this age range, book club kits would be available year-round.
What to Include:
Depending on budgetary constraints, two alternate book club “kits” are proposed:
- Physical kits available for pickup at a library branch including between 4-10 copies of a single book, discussion questions, author information, and a copy of the soundtrack (if the book has been made into a movie and it is available).
- Digital kits available online with 4-10 eBook copies available for download. Also included would be a digital copy of discussion questions, a link to the author website (if available), author information, and a list of relevant soundtracks (if available).
Outcomes and Measures:
Below is a list of desired outcomes and the measures by which the library can determine if those measures are obtained. Depending on the success of implementation, additional expansion of this service can be considered including expansion to additional age groups, genre-specific kits, or alternate demographics. The list provides the outcome at the higher level and the measures of that outcome beneath the outcome. All outcomes should work towards the long-range vision goals of lifelong learning and being a center for the community.
- Promote conversations and interactions which encourage literacy and lifelong learning. (Core Values: Education, Access)
- Measure: The number of unique book clubs which borrow the kits. This measure should not require book clubs to register at the library, but instead give book clubs the opportunity to promote themselves at the library.
- Measure: Feedback from patrons on number of copies available, format, and usefulness of the additional information provided. This should be obtained from voluntary surveys.
- Encourage readers to think beyond the pages of the book, placing books in context of author, political climate, or identifying other note-worthy aspects beyond plot and character development. This is to be achieved through the provided discussion questions with each kit. (Core value: Diversity, Education)
- Measure: Feedback from patrons on the success of the discussion, relevancy of discussion questions provided, and suggestions for improvement. This should be obtained from voluntary surveys.
Hoffert, B. (2006). THE BOOK CLUB EXPLODED. Library Journal, 131(12), 34-37.