A few weeks ago, my friend @stylerepublik (ig/snapchat) was telling me about her wanting to start doing something tangible to affect her community. She recently has been putting a lot of thought into improving literacy and exposure to great works. She wants to start a book club and here’s the thinking where you can start any community program and examples using a book club.
Start with Why?
Before you spend any time thinking about what you are going to do, it’s best to think about why first. Like creating art, a new business, choosing a career, or even writing paragraph, it’s best to have a good grasp on why you are doing it. What are you trying to change? What need is there that you are trying to fulfill? Why is it important? How is what you are doing going to address this need? All these questions help you decide on your personal motivation and why you can’t quit.
For the Book Club, let’s say there is a lot of misinformation being spread or plain ignorance (lack of knowledge) in your community( *cough* Education *cough*). You believe that for positive mutual interactions between community members, dialog addressing community values and how to thrive should be discussed. You want to inspire others to question information they are given and verify their own knowledge. The verification of knowledge, stimulation of minds, and fortification of hearts could really have positive impacts on the community improving image, esteem, and interactions.
How do you do it?
This is where the logistics come into play. What resources do you need? Does something similar already exist? How many people are you trying to serve? What type of people are you trying to attract? How often is interaction needed? How much preparation is required to maintain this? Are you willing to put in the required time? Ask as many questions as possible at the beginning to help narrow down surprises at the end.
A book club is relatively simple. You need people and books to read. The first question is about the people. How many people are you expecting? You never want to have a huge group starting off. I recommend 3-4 to start off with. That way, meetings can happen anywhere, communication is easy, and costs are low. Are these people you work with? Neighborhood friends? Craig’s list? How are you planning on communicating with the members? Email, mail, text, phone call, and group messages are all possible options that will change with the group. How often do you want the group to meet? Once a month? Does that give enough time to read the books?
Next, where are you getting the books from? Are people buying these books or are they loaning them from the library? If they are buying them, a general monthly cost should be given to people upon interest. If they are loaning them, think about the availability of said books. Are people going to have digital copies? It would be best to call a few publishers, book stores, and libraries about group discounts. You could very well save everyone a couple dollars down the line.
How long are the books expected to be? Does the group decide which books you read? My personal recommendation is that for the initial two months, pick the books for the group, after that, have a list of books for them to choose from during the first month. This gives enough time to measure reading speeds and see how conversations go for any needed adjustments.