Membership Outreach Committee: A Need-to-Know Guide to the Book Club Experience

Thanks to everyone who joined the Book Club Kickoff on October 25 at Bayou. We hope you enjoyed the opportunity to connect the dots with other League members, especially with those in your neighborhood who share a love of reading and discussing books. If you missed the chance to sign up for a book club at the Book Club Kickoff event, there’s no need to worry; contact the Membership Outreach Committee Chair Chloe Mullins to be connected with a club today.
We all look forward to that one night a month when we can catch up with friends old over a beverage of our choice to discuss this month’s book, until the person who signed up to bring pita chips doesn’t show. So Membership Outreach connected with past participants to learn the keys to a successful, long-lasting book club. 
Here are a few ways that we found will keep your JLW book club running smoothly: 
·  Share the Busy Work – It can take a lot of energy to be a great leader who puts effort into involving everyone. Share the joy of leading with others who might be interested and consider rotating the leader every few months to avoid burnout.  
·  Use Online Tools – Use Doodle or Google docs to determine the best date/time for your group to meet and set up an online calendar to note what book you’ll be reading, when and where you’ll be meeting, who is hosting, and who is responsible for what snacks. You can even start a Facebook group if it’s easier.
·  Flexible Meeting Times and Locations – Books clubs don’t have to happen at night, and discussions can be just as great at brunch! Consider holding your meeting on a weekend rather than weeknight if that works better for members of your group. Alternating hosts (and meeting somewhere other than a member’s home (like a restaurant, coffee shop, or library)) are other ways to lighten the load and ensure a successful book club. 
·  Finds Ways to Celebrate – This could be as simple as occasionally planning “Friends of Book Club” social events like happy hours, concerts at Yards Park, etc. that include others or taking the time to recognize a big event in a member’s life (wedding, baby, promotion, etc.).
·  Consider a Variety of Books – There are lots of great online resources (The New York Times Best Seller List, Oprah’s Book Club, etc.) to help you choose a book to read but sometimes you need to think outside the book. Short stories and essays can be great for discussion as well! (The holidays weigh heavily on everyone’s time so consider reading a shorter piece or having a social meeting in lieu of a traditional one during that time of year.) 
What else has made your book club successful in the past? Leave a comment below or contact Membership Outreach directly. The committee will share your thoughts with this year’s and future JLW book clubs. 

Happy reading! from the Membership Outreach Committee.