December 15, 2015 Booklist 11 www.booklistonline.com
relationship with their book club by giving them a chance to be
just a plain-old participant for a change, but it also provides a
moderated outlet for book discussion leader therapy. Yes, we call
it leadership training, but that is so your boss will give you the
time off desk to go. Really, it’s an old-fashioned therapy session.
Here are some sample topics we have covered recently:
• How and why to include the author in your book discussion.
• Best practices for choosing which books your group will discuss.
• Using genre titles for book discussions.
• How do you save a group that is dying, or when is it okay to
• How do you handle crowd control?
• How do you find questions that aren’t stupid without always
having to write them all yourself?
While we always begin with an official topic, we also encourage participants to bring up any questions or concerns that they
have with their specific group. We try to offer each other advice
or possible solutions. Often we have tackled this very problem
ourselves. But no matter what, we are always there to listen—
sometimes, that’s all you need.
Feel free to look at what we are doing at ARRT [sites.google
ship-training/]. We have created an entire website chronicling
our exploits, including detailed notes on our discussions. You can
$11.99 • Paperback
Sky Pony Press/Available
The first graphic novel for
Minecrafters by New York
Times bestselling author
$9.99 • Paperback
Sky Pony Press/Jan. 2016
Dive into adventure in the
tempestuous fourth book in the
bestselling Defenders of the
$34.99 • Hardcover
Tales from the Couch offers
compelling stories of extraordinary
people, clinical conditions, and
events—both in and out of the
therapy hour—while providing
insights into the nature of human
beings, mental illness, and the psychotherapeutic
$24.99 • Hardcover
In Hustle Believe Receive,
Sarah Centrella, author of the
internationally popular blog
that anyone, no matter where
they start from, can change
their life, achieve success, and
live their dream.
$16.99 • Paperback
Drawing on seventy years of
CIA intelligence, The CIA World
Factbook 2016 is packed with
wide-ranging facts and figures
about the world’s nations.
$14.99 • Hardcover
Good Books/Jan. 2016
The Good Living Guide to Me-
dicinal Tea invites readers into
a world of medicinal plants,
instructs on the specific
healing properties of each,
matches them to common
health disorders, and provides simple tea recipes
readers can make in their own homes.
New Titles From
Available to the trade from Perseus Distribution
look at the notes of our book discussions to test-drive a title. These
notes give you an example of what was most discussable about a
specific book. But you can also look at the notes of our leadership
training, where we speak honestly about how things are going
with our groups. The notes do not include library names or even
the speaker’s name. People are encouraged to be honest about
challenges and frustrations. Our meetings are often their only
chance to bring up troublesome issues and tricky problems with
participants, administrators, or even colleagues. The note taker
respects anonymity while still keeping a record of how we tried
to help each other, with the expectation that this frank and open
discussion can assist others, near or far.
Use our support group as inspiration to talk to your colleagues from other libraries in your area and try to start your
own. Only other book club leaders truly understand that the
job is equal parts rewarding and challenging. By uniting and
providing a safe place where you can both recapture the magic
of why you fell in love with book club in the first place, and
offer each other an understanding shoulder to cry on, everyone
wins—you, your patrons, your colleagues, and your library.
Well, maybe not everyone. The bartender will be losing out on
your repeat business.
Becky Spratford is an Illinois librarian specializing in serving
leisure readers ages 13 and up. Follow Becky’s exploits in RA
training on her popular and critically acclaimed blog RA for All
[ raforall.blogspot.com] or on Twitter @RAforAll.