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How to Begin and Lead a Book Discussion Group

Book discussion groups build community. They offer opportunity for intelligent conversation and lead to deeper understanding of an author's work.  Members form life-long friendships. Get your group started now!

Great Resources to Get Started

  • American Library Association Professional Tips. Book Discussion Groups
  • BookBrowse Getting started, moderating meetings, difficult meetings, choosing books and more
  • Booklist Reader group tips, reading lists, & lively talk of literary news from the experts at Booklist Online
  • Book Club Corner Random House's guide to book group types, leadership, selecting books and more
  • Book Group How-Tos from the Seattle Public Library guide to leading, coming up with good discussion questions, drawing conclusions and more
  • Book Club Ideas-Recommendations-1500 LitLovers' Book Discussion Guides-Book Reviews
  • "How to Start, Maintain and Lead a Book Club," an extensive website with everything needed to succeed

And Keep it Going....


Looking for a reading guide?

  • Bestsellers includes over 200 guides to popular best-selling books
  • BookBrowse 500 guides reprinted from the publishers
  • Book Movement Tracks the 100 most popular book club selections nationally; must take a free membership to access guides
  • Oprah's Book Club 70 Books listed with excerpts, reading questions, character guide and author interviews or essays
  • Nearly 3,000 guides to help you plan your book discussion
  • Try the Web site of the publisher of the book.
  • Best discussion we've seen on the pros and cons of using prepared guides or your own experience is Molly Lundquist's Reading Guides for Book Clubs: To Use or Not to Use July 14, 2009.

Can't find a guide? Create your own...

Finding Book Sets in Iowa for Your Discussion Group

Libraries across Iowa make sets of individual book titles available to Iowa book clubs and discussion groups through lending from library to library.

  • Then contact your local library to arrange access to a set of books for your group.

More Advanced Discussion Planning Tools

  • One Book-One Community: Planning Your Community-Wide Read. A 44-page guide prepared by the Public Programs Office of the America Library Association.
  • How to Start a Great Books Discussion Group. Founded in 1947, the Great Books Foundation promotes the text-based Socratic method of learning. This discussion 27-page guide can be adapted to starting and leading any group.
  • The Library of Congress Center for the Book List of One Book Projects by State and Country.
  • Books in Common, an independent clearinghouse supporting Community Reads, All Campus Reads, Freshman Class Reading Programs, literary festivals, and writers workshops through providing fee and schedule information, securing venues at significant discounts (often thousands of dollars), as well as promoting the event once scheduled and providing free promotional materials.

Skype Chats with Authors

Book Clubs and Blogs

Just for Fun

Go to YouTube and search for "The Book Club."

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