Thursday, July 29, 2010

Faculty Book Club

When I began my new Upper School library position in Dallas, Texas last year I knew I had to develop relationships with the US staff. The US was relatively young and had NO previous library program so I knew it would be a challenge to quickly bond with this small cohesive group. After trying many techniques I fell into a situation where someone suggested a faculty book club. I was ready to try anything and thus planned our first meeting. The room was full and everyone looked to me for the club’s criteria. As the facilitator of the US library, I decided it was our club and solicited suggestions and before the end of the meeting we had a plan in place. Simple as the plan was, it worked wonderfully and here is how we proceeded.

1. Everyone in the US was invited to particiapte in the book club and make suggestions of books to discuss. Genres to consider would include fiction, nonfiction, biography, poetry, short stories, and young adult material.

2. A smaller group randomly picked titles once all the suggestions were submitted.

3. Monthly meetings were scheduled around school activities either during lunch or after school. During our last lunch meeting I coordinated ordering food from a local deli.

4. The monthly discussion groups were lead by the person making the book suggestion and no one lead more than one group.

5. The book club schedule was posted on the library’s website, mentioned in the monthly library newsletters, and reminders were emailed to all faculty as meeting dates approached.

6. I obtained a copy of all the books for the US library collection.

7. As the dates approached I coordinated refreshments with the group discussion leader.

8. Thank you notes went out to those who volunteered to undertake a discussion group.

9. The actual meetings were relaxed, fun and mentally exhilarating.

Key components for success included a variety of book suggestions to entice many, a fun and relaxing atmosphere, promotion and publication and sincere gratitude for those who volunteered.

I hope to continue this tradition in my new school library position for this coming year. I was pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming success of the faculty book club and hope others find the time to do the same.


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