This afternoon I finished my 3 city tour for RAILS where I traveled to different regions throughout Northern Illinois to not only train book discussion leaders but also to help facilitate and encourage them to join forces to continue to help each other.
Too often we all live in our own little library bubbles and forget to turn to our neighbors for help, to answer questions, or even to bounce ideas off of. But no one can understand your situation at your library better than a neighboring library.
I can swoop into your town, bringing my expertise and advice, but I am only there to start the conversation and kick start the training. I can never completely understand your specific library, its quirks, and your population, the way you can, but your colleagues in nearby places will definitely have a closer understanding than anyone else.
As part of my planned wrap up posts to these three specific events, I am going to compile my notes from the discussions we had on The Sympathizer at the three libraries, but before I get to WHAT we discussed, I wanted to take this moment to again highlight the real reason I went on this tour, to help all of you set up Book Discussion Leader Support Groups so you can be there for each other.
To that end, here is a refresher on WHY everyone who leads a book discussion should be a part of a leader support group and it comes from this article I wrote on the topic in the December 2015 issue of Booklist.
Today is about supporting you as the leader, but I will be back later this week with a recap on the discussions of the book. I know that is what you think you will find the most useful as you try to pick books and lead discussions, and in a way you are correct. But in the long run, not finding support for yourself, the lone book discussion leader in the larger library organization [quite often this is the case], can do long term harm. You owe it to yourself to find local colleagues to connect with. Let me help you start the process.
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