Need a Book Club Professional?
Is your reading group missing the rich symbolic references in To Kill a Mockingbird?
Are you overwhelmed by all the characters in People of the Book?
Has your book club gotten lost in the complicated plot lines in The Thirteenth Tale?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, your book club may be in the market for a professional facilitator.
“What does a professional book club facilitator bring to the table?” you ask? “Everything… ” answers Rachel Jacobsohn, founder of the Association of Professional Book Club Readers and Leaders. In an interview with ReadingGroupGuides.com, she states specifically that “participants can expect the facilitator to keep the discussion on track, to educate members and inspire them to expand and deepen their thinking about the title.”
In my own experience I’ve found that professional facilitators can add value by:
– Choosing books that will provoke a good discussion—not just ones that are enjoyable to read
– Keeping the discussion focused on the book—and not the local gossip
– Using the power of inquiry to get the group to dig deeper into the literature, while not turning the discussion into a re-run of English 101
– Ensuring each group member’s opinion is heard and valued
– Managing sensitive group dynamic issues—and following Pareto’s law, 80% is group dynamics
– Helping to celebrating the book in a fun way!
So if your club would like to rise above group gossip, avoid being taken over by Attila the Hun, and actually have an intelligent discussion of the book, it may be time to look to a professional.
Check with your local public library or independent book store to see what resources are available in your area. And if you live in the Greater Sacramento Area, drop me a line.
P.S. And if you live in Yolo County, call the Woodland Community/Senior Center (530-661-5850) and sign up for our new book club (Class Code # 1579) that begins on March 1.