Whether you're looking for like-minded folks to talk to about the current zeitgeist of our world or just an excuse to chat over some snacks, you can get a reading group together in just a few steps. Book clubs are a great way to communicate with friends and meet new people while exploring and discussing (hopefully) good books. What's more, being part of a book group can help you stay motivated to read if you otherwise have difficulty finding time to pick up a book. If you can't find a group in your area, maybe it's time to start one!
Spread the word.
Start with 3 friends—all devoted readers; ask each of them to invite 1, 2, or 3 others, also devoted readers. It is much easier to start a book club with two or three people who already have some connection. It's not important for everyone to know one another though; in fact, it's fun if all of you don't. After you meet a couple of times, you can grow the club at your own pace. (Or not.) Alert friends, family, and coworkers that you’re starting a Transition book club; be sure to mention your expectations. Start collecting e-mail addresses or other forms of contact. Your goal should be between 5 and 15 people, so everyone gets a chance to speak. New to the area? Post a flyer on the community board at your local bookstore or library.We've made a template for you, check it out! The flyer announces the time and place of the first meeting and any other relevant information, such as whether refreshments will be served. Deliver copies of the flyer to local bookstores, and put them up on community bulletin boards at grocery stores, churches, etc. (CAVEAT: Please be aware that broad advertising of book clubs can result in the occasional bad apple that can single-handedly ruin the discussion openness and tone. Do this with caution.) The Transition asks that if you post flyers that you also document where you put them so you can remove them and take them down after the date has past. It is in the best interest of all Transition Contributors to do this so our organization continues and strengthens the positive view of the work we do in our local communities. Posting about your event on websites like Meetup, Craigslist and ReadersCircle are highly effective as well. We highly recommend these methods over flyers as it reduces paper waste.
Go over the ground rules via e-mail.
You should definitely allow the group to make most decisions, but if you have certain requirements for the club (for example, if you you can only meet on Thursdays), you should set them out ahead of time.You’ll want to give people an idea of what to expect: how often you’ll meet (once a month is typical), how long the meetings will be (about two hours usually does the trick), and any other need-to-knows. Some groups rotate their host and if they meet at a restaurant the host might buy appetizers and drinks since they are not in their home and preparing food.
Decide on the tone and theme of the club.
Once you have a group assembled discuss the interests of each attendee. Are you a die-hard permaculture buff? A shameless survivalist? Or interested in technological unemployment? Decide whether the club would prefer to focus on one genre or have a free-for-all in our online bookstore (we've organized some of the titles in order of what Phase you belong to currently to make it easy for you and your group), and set the tone, too: a scholarly meeting of the minds, a reason for a get-together, or something in-between. Deciding on the club's orientation is very important, if you make this decision at the outset, you'll know who to invite and what books to read.
Figure out the best time for everyone to meet.
Coordinating busy schedules can be the toughest part of this process, but finding a good slot will boost attendance down the line. Most clubs meet during the week: mid-morning, lunchtime, dinner, or early evening. For others weekends work best. Still, all clubs end up working around jobs, childcare, travel, even difficulty driving at night. (After dinner, when younger kids have gone to bed, is a popular choice.) You can use NeedtoMeet to take the guess work out of what works for your club. Something to consider: Will the time of the gathering warrant a meal (hello, potluck!), snack, or just refreshments?
Pick a convenient location.
If you feel comfortable inviting people into your home, you can have at least the first meeting at your house or apartment as long as you have enough room. Lots of groups take turns at one another’s homes. If you want to remove the pressure to entertain, then quiet cafes and restaurants are an easy option. You can even ask for a discount at one spot if you’ll be meeting there regularly. Otherwise, you can usually reserve space for free at community centers, libraries or churches, or you might try to get a bookstore to let you hold your meeting there. Ideally if you can find someplace convenient where you can hold regular meetings, the better it is for your group and the more likely people will consistently attend. If the people you are interested in reading with are too far away to meet up regularly then try having your book club virtually using Skype, or Google Hangouts instead!
- Prepare the meeting space. Make sure the meeting space is clean and inviting. Check to make sure the restrooms are properly stocked even if you are at a public location (if they are short on anything or the restroom is a mess you can inform an attendant before your club convenes). Most importantly, make sure you have enough chairs, and set up refreshments.
Non-Violent decision-makers use their power to achieve goals while respecting differences and cooperating with others. In this environment, it is considered violent to use power to dominate or control the group process. It is understood that the power of revealing your truth is the maximum force allowed to persuade others to your point of view.
Facilitators accept responsibility for moving through the agenda in the allotted time, guiding the process, and suggesting alternate or additional techniques. In this sense, they do lead the group. However, they do not give their personal opinions nor do they attempt to direct the content of the discussion. If they want to participate, they must clearly relinquish the role and speak as an individual. During a meeting, individuals are responsible for expressing their own concerns and thoughts. Facilitators, on the other hand, are responsible for addressing the needs of the group. They need to be aware of the Group Dynamics and constantly evaluate whether the discussion is flowing well. There may be a need for a change in the discussion technique. They need to be diligent about the fair distribution of attention, being sure to limit those who are speaking often and offering opportunities to those who are not speaking much or at all. It follows that one person cannot simultaneously give attention to the needs of the group and think about a personal response to a given situation. Also, it is not appropriate for the Facilitator to give a particular point of view or dominate the discussion. This does not build trust, especially in those who do not agree with the Facilitator.
Contributors: C.T. Butler, Amy Rothstein
Recommended Books: On Conflict on Consensus
The Facilitator is responsible for the fair distribution of attention during meetings. Facilitators call the attention of the group to one speaker at a time. The grammar school method is the most common technique for choosing the next speaker. The Facilitator recognizes each person in the order in which hands are raised. Often, inequities occur because the attention is dominated by an individual or class of individuals. This can occur because of socialized behavioral problems such as racisim, sexism, or the like, or internal dynamics such as experience, seniority, fear, shyness, disrespect, ignorance of the process, etc. Inequities can be corrected in many creative ways. For example, if men are speaking more often than women, the Facilitator can suggest a pause after each speaker, the women counting to 5 before speaking, the men counting to 10. In controversial situations, the Facilitator can request that 3 speakers speak for the proposal, and 3 speak against it. If the group would like to avoid having the Facilitator select who speaks next, the group can self-select by asking the last speaker to pass an object, a talking stick, to the next. Even more challenging. have each speaker stand before speaking, and begin where there is only one person standing. These are only a handful of the many possible problems and solutions that exist. Be creative. Invent your own.Read more
The Facilitator, or any member recognized to speak by the Facilitator, can call for a test of Consensus. to do this, the Facilitator asks if there are any unresolved concerns which remain unaddressed. See: Level One: Broad Open Discussion- Call for ConsensusRead more
After a long discussion, it sometimes happens that the proposal becomes modified without any formal decision. The Facilitator needs to recognize this and take time to reformulate the proposal with the new information, modifications, or deletions. Then the proposal is presented to the group so that everyone can be clear about what is being considered. Again, this might be done by the Facilitator, the Note-taker, or anyone else.Read more
If the Facilitator wants to become involved in the discussion or has strong feelings about a particular agenda item, the Facilitator can step out of the role and participate in the discussion, allowing another member to Facilitate during that time.Read more