One of my favourite things to do is talking about and sharing books with Tween readers. (8-12 yrs) And what better way to do that than hosting a book club?
As a children's bookseller for 4 years at Beattie & Forbes Booksellers, running the Tween Bookclub was heaps of fun.
Book clubs can be as small as 3 people, and I've had up to 30 at a session, but 15-20 was the best for a number of reasons which I'll talk about later.
Finding members - If you're beginning a bookclub at your school you can advertise in the school newsletter to let parents know, or on the school noticeboard, in the school library, and in class notices.
Sometimes students will be dubious about a book club. The perception that book clubs are for dorks or nerds or whatever the 'cool' kids want to call them; is still out there.
But word of mouth around a school is a powerful thing and the doubters will soon be lining up to join - if there are any spaces left of course! A waiting list is great for drumming up interest.
I began with 100% girl members and it turned around to over half of the members being boys.
Starting a Tween Bookclub out of school can be advertised in newsletters in schools in your local area, as a poster in your local bookstore, or again, just by word of mouth, text, internet, etc. between interested book-lovers.
Time - It will be tricky to suit everyone, so pick a time that suits the bulk of your new members. If it's at school, lunchtimes or after school are perfect, because everyone is there already.
If it is a bookstore or public bookclub, I found 5.30pm was a good time to host it.
The member's family's made Tween Bookclub night their monthly takeaways night, picking up their dinner on the way home afterwards.
Whatever suits your members is best, because sharing books and how cool they really are, is the result we are aiming for!
Ages of Members - Tweens 8-12 yrs Teens - High School Students
These were the age rules of our book clubs and it was much easier to be firm with them than have disruptive younger siblings during the book club or topics of books being discussed that weren't suitable for younger children.
Venue - Somewhere that is warm in winter, and comfortable in summer is the best venue. Somewhere with room to set up activities, be able to split your Tweens into groups for competitions, or just spread cushions and beanbags around for the members to relax on while you are discussing books.
Free or Pay? - It's up to you whether you have a charge to attend, either yearly or for each book club. Expectations may rise from parents, even if it is incredible value for money. We never charged members, but were lucky to be well supported with prizes, goodies etc.
Consider costs etc to run your book club. Organising activities takes some time, but I will be helping with ideas along the way.
More on beginning a book club soon....