One of the things I am most proud of in my work with ARRT is transforming one of our members only programs, the literary book discussion program into the Book Club Study. It is a place where I have been able to effect positive change within this long standing networking group.
ARRT had done quarterly literary book discussions for years, but they were getting stale and were not as responsive to the needs of a new generation of book discussion leaders.
The Book Club Study is modeled after our popular Genre Study. It is a 4x a year book discussion for book discussion leaders, giving them a chance to be in a discussion instead of running one. It is also a leadership training opportunity. We discuss the book itself and then have a planned leadership topic that the group can discuss. We also always allow time for anyone in attendance to bring up any other book discussion related questions or concerns.
As I wrote about in this article for Booklist Magazine, it is essentially a support group for book discussions leaders.
One of the other standards I have set for this program is that we have as many different leaders as possible. We have the entire ARRT Steering Committee to choose from and with only 4 meetings a year, we can go a couple years without repeating a leader. This allows us to expose our members to as many leadership styles as possible. There is no one, right way to lead a book discussion, and there is no better way to prove this to show people different leadership styles and tactics, live and in person.
Finally, the last thing I required of this revamped group is that like the Genre Study, while to attend in person you must be a paid ARRT member [only $15], anyone, anywhere, all around the world can have access to the group free through our notes. The notes create a record of the discussion and the leadership topic. ARRT is about helping library workers serve adult leisure readers better. Having the notes available after our Book Club Study serves that goal perfectly.
When the Book Club Study first started being revamped, ARRT didn’t have a great website, so I created a quick Google Site to have a place to store the notes and advertise the upcoming programs.
Now that the revamped ARRT website is well established, and I have completely passed the administration of the Book Club Study over to my colleague Elizabeth, she was able to make her first mark as the leader of this program by getting the Book Club Study site integrated into our wonderful ARRT site. And it looks great.
It will take me some time to fix the old links here on RA for All to redirect to this new page, but all of the information is now here and it is organized even better.
We still have the most important information like the upcoming book discussion right at the front, but now the older discussions and their notes are listed in alphabetical order by title. We have so many in the archive, so keeping them listed in reverse chronological order is no longer helpful. Also, while each leadership topic and its notes are paired with the book discussed, we now also have an alphabetical list of leadership topic here too.
Please check the archive out and add it to your book discussion resources. We have a lot of useful information, crowdsourced books lists and example discussions for you to use with your groups.
And, speaking of the Book Club Study, our next one is coming up soon. See below for the details. I have RSVP’d. I am so excited to be simply a participant.
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