Do book discussion groups deserve a new look?

Whether your library is already involved in book groups or not, you will learn invaluable tips on improving the planning and operation of them in this new Infopeople online course, Book Discussion Groups: A New Look starting on December 2, 2008.
Infopeople instructor, Lauren John, is a librarian and book group leader. She has led book groups in public libraries, bookstores, boardrooms, executive conference rooms, living rooms, retirement communities, restaurants, churches and synagogues.
She runs the 10,000 volume library at San Francisco’s private Town and Country Club on Union Square, where she also organize monthly literary discussions. She is also an “on-call” reference and youth services librarian at Menlo Park Public Library and has written a great book, Running Book Discussion Groups for Neal-Schuman. See her personal website for even more information.
Working with Lauren led me to do a Google search to see who is involved in providing this service besides libraries and Oprah.
Here’s one that I found especially interesting because of the impact it has already made on many local Minnesota communities…
It is Minnesota’s first statewide “book read,” the Say Yes to No campaign using the book, No: Why Kids – of All Ages – Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It by Dr. David Walsh, founder and president of the National Institute on Media and the Family.
Here’s an excerpt from the campaign website website
The snow was gently falling. It was cold, but over 500 parents showed up at the New Ulm Middle School for their county and school district kickoff for Say Yes to No.
A group of parents came from as far away as Ortonville, Minnesota, a three and a half hour drive. And why did all these parents show up? Because they understand the importance of No for the success of their children. They wanted to learn more and talk with other parents about how to handle the challenges of raising kids in a “yes” culture.
An early childhood educator from Madelia, Minnesota related her experience with a Say Yes to No book discussion group of pre-school parents. As soon as the parents were assured that there were no right or wrong answers – that the purpose of the group was to share and discuss ideas from No and their own experiences, the facilitator could not get them to stop talking. Everyone had stories to tell and questions to ask.
Special Note: Please comment on this blog entry and share your stories about how book discussion groups have played a part in your life.

One thought on “Do book discussion groups deserve a new look?

  1. Can’t say much about the influence of book discussion groups in my life since I’ve been more involved in writing groups rather than reading groups. I do, however, think you hit a critically important point by mentioning the role they play in communities and community-building. At a time when there seems to be so much divisiveness and we seem to only talk to those who share the opinions we hold (see Bill Bishop’s recent book, “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart”), it seems as if book discussion groups may give us all a place to find some common ground. And perhaps one obvious starting point is group discussions, in our local libraries, of works like Bishop’s–since that’s where readers like me found the copies we’re reading.

Comments are closed.