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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

Is your book club feeling stale or uninspired? Has attendance dropped, or are you struggling to keep your patrons engaged? What you need is a reboot. This resource published in cooperation with ALA’s Public Programs Office profiles dozens of successful book clubs across the country. Its diverse cross-section of ideas will inspire you to rethink your reading groups and try out new ways to better meet your library’s and community’s needs. Drawn from responses collected through social media, electronic mailing lists, e-newsletters, websites, as well as the authors’ own research, this book

  • outlines the main reasons that traditional book clubs can grow stagnant over time and offers concrete advice on how to change things up;
  • shares such real-world initiatives as a “walk and talk” book club, book clubs held in non-library spaces like ferries and bars, a discussion group for presidential history buffs, programming for people with developmental disabilities, a partnership with a health clinic network, and many others;
  • includes programs from a wide range of library types (public, school, academic) and sizes;
  • features short, easily scannable chapters that are convenient for browsing; and
  • provides a handy list of resources for additional information.

You’ll find the keys to creating a book club your community will love among the abundance of ideas offered in this book.



Chapter 1    Change of Scenery
Chapter 2    Find a Partner
Chapter 3    Unite People with Common Interests
Chapter 4    Make It Easy for Them
Chapter 5    Meet a Need
Chapter 6    Target Your Audience
Chapter 7    Get Quirky
Chapter 8    Encourage Activism
Chapter 9    Meet Them Where They Are
Chapter 10    Short on Time
Chapter 11    Put It Online
Chapter 12    Get Them Meeting at an Early Age


Sarah Ostman

Sarah Ostman is the communications manager in the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office, where she serves as editor of, a web resource for library professionals. Before joining the ALA and the library field in 2014, she spent nearly a decade as a newspaper reporter, editor, and freelance writer. Ostman has an MA in journalism from Columbia College in Chicago and a BA in sociology and theater from Smith College in Massachusetts.

Stephanie Saba

Stephanie Saba is a community program supervisor at San Mateo County Libraries in California. Over the last fifteen years, she has led book clubs in three different communities, including two twenty- to thirty- something book clubs, a mother-daughter book club, an adult book club, and a senior book club. She has served on the ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee, the CLA’s California Young Reader Medal Committee, the ALSC’s Public Awareness Committee, and the ALA’s Public and Cultural Programs Advisory Committee. Saba has an MLIS degree from San Jose State University and a BA in English literature from San Francisco State University.

Public Programs Office (PPO)

ALA's Public Programs Office (PPO) empowers libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation and connection in communities of all types.

"While most of the featured clubs are associated with public libraries, many are not. All are successful because they foster meaningful book discussions and offer some good old fashion diversions such as exercise, food, good company, and opportunities to create, share, and socialize ... Offering tips and advice, sidebars on related topics such as marketing book clubs to specific populations and ways to facilitate book discussions, as well as an appendix of useful resources, this publication is highly recommended for many types of libraries."
The Librarian’s Review of Books

"Highly recommended.”
— Library Journal

"Practical and easy-to-read, this book is chock-full of ideas for book clubs or book-related events that span all ages, all abilities, and all venues ... The fun parts of the book are the actual cases of libraries that rebooted their clubs in all sorts of ways from meeting in pubs and nature trails, to partnering with the mayor, to having a book club just about the United States presidents, to having a club where everyone reads a different book, to cookbook clubs, to social justice book clubs.”
— Catholic Library World