Book Group DIY Toolkit
Are you in a book discussion group or thinking of starting one? The Seattle Public Library has reading suggestions, meeting spaces at many of our branch libraries, resources, and staff ideas to support you along the way.
DIY Book Group Toolkit
To support book group members and patrons interested in forming or joining a book group, we have created this DIY Toolkit that can be used to help select titles, reserve multiple copies of titles and facilitate book group meetings.
How to find an established book group
There are many online resources that can help you find a Seattle-area book group to join.
How to start your own book group
If you wish to start your own book group, the American Library Association’s Quick Start Guide and these eight tips for starting and nurturing a successful book club from the Seattle Times may be useful.
Before your group meets, you might want to explore these questions with potential members.
- What types of books will be read and discussed?
- How many people should be invited?
- Should the group meet virtually or in person?
- When, where and how often your book group will meet?
- How long will meetings last?
- Who will lead the meetings and how?
How to find good books for discussion
Our staff can help you find personalized reading lists for you or your book group through Your Next Five Books.
The Library’s no-holds, no-wait collection highlights popular, newly released titles, and offers multiple copies of Peak Picks title at each Library location, which makes it a hit with book clubs.
Shelf Talk Blog
Our staff blog offers lots of ideas for book groups and leisure reading of all kinds.
Our librarians have selected lists of recently published, thought-provoking fiction titles and nonfiction titles sure to spark discussion.
Visit Seattle Reads, our citywide book group, to find past titles or for information on how to participate in the program.
NoveList Plus is an online resource that offers advanced search options for finding fiction and non-fiction titles, articles and more.
Reading Group Guides
Find a discussion guide for the book your group is reading or browse the website to find your group’s next read at Reading Group Guides.
BookBrowse provides book discussion ideas and guides, training videos, and other resources for book groups.
How to find multiple copies of books for group members
The Library catalog, and OverDrive, our e-book and e-audiobook catalog, are both available online and are great places to find multiple copies of books for your book group.
While multiple copies are often immediately available, in some cases you and your book group members may need to place holds on a book to check out in the future.
Using our catalog
You can find copies available now through the links below and narrow the list according to branch location, book genre, publication date, author and more.
We allow up to 3 renewals on most items if others are not waiting, so you can check out many books for up to 12 weeks. Peak Picks titles are an exception, with a shorter checkout period of two weeks and no renewals.
To make sure that books for future discussion are available when you need them, you can place holds on books in advance and then use the pause hold feature in our catalog. This feature allows you to choose when you want the next available copy of a book to be held for you without losing your place in line.
We have an extensive and constantly expanding catalog of books in digital formats, both e-books and e-audiobooks, for you to download. Many titles in OverDrive are always available.
How to lead a book discussion
The American Library Association offers a list of book discussion group links and resources that can help you prepare to lead a fun, lively and informative discussion. It also provides a Quick Start Guide, which contains excellent guidance on structuring meetings, asking good questions, and leading discussions.
Even the most successful book groups have challenges. To help you navigate them, BookBrowse has a curated list of blog posts on how to deal with difficult situations.
Books that include or feature complex experiences of race, culture and identity can make for great discussions. This BookBrowse article How to Have a Productive Book Club Discussion About Race suggests ways to have productive conversations about race and other potentially sensitive subjects.
How to learn more about an author
There are many tools and tips, reading guides and sample discussion questions available online that can help you lead book group discussions.
- LitLovers, a popular online literary community.
- Discussion Tips: Ideas for discussing any book
- Reading Guides: Specific discussion questions for particular books
- General Discussion Questions: Sample questions for fiction and nonfiction books
- Read-Think-Talk: A guided-reading chart
- Free LitCourses: Short, fun and educational courses