Let's start with "live" social networking, i.e. book clubs. Book Clubs have been around for years and are a popular way for readers to connect with others. There are a wide variety of book groups ranging from genre discussions to anything goes. So, how do you find a book club that's right for you?
Your first stop should be the list of Harris County Public Library branch book clubs. Do you like mysteries? Cy-Fair, Tomball, and Freeman all have mystery-themed clubs. Like to eat? Octavia Fields' Read It & Eat It book club features books with recipies, which they sample. Are you a Jane Austen fan? You'll find others at Tomball's Jane Austen book club. Just want to connect with other readers? Try West University, Crosby, Katherine Tyra, and many others for general topic discussions.
Other resources for book clubs are:
Houston Great Books Council - The local affiliate of the Great Books Foundation, which promotes the reading of great literature. There are 19 Great Books discussion groups that meet throughout Houston. Barbara Bush Library and Freeman Library hose two of the discussions.
ReadingGroupGuides - This site is one stop shopping for book groups. In their For Book Clubs section, they have information on starting and running a book club. They also include information on how to select books for a group and have discussion guides for a wide variety of titles.
Reading Group Choices - selects discussible books and suggests discussion topics for reading groups. Another great resource for discussion guides.
Readerville Forum - This is an online book discussion site. You can connect with other folks and discuss books by title, author or genre.
Readerville is a good place to jump into online social networking (see Thing 18 in the original iHCPL for an explanation of Social Networking) for books. Online social networks for books go a step further than Readerville, in that users can set up an account, add the books they have read, tag them, friend other users, get and give recommendations, and discuss books. Some of the most popular networks include:
LibraryThing (Discussed in-depth in Thing 11 in the original iHCPL)
LivingSocial: Books on Facebook (you must be a Facebook user to access this site)
So, why would you want to use one of these sites? All of them have the same basic features listed above, but each has it's own special features:
- On Shelfari, if you're not sure if you should read a particular title, you can click "Shoudl I Read This?" (it's on the main entry for a book) to check with users who have read it.
- Goodreads inclues author videos, trivia, quotes, and a forum to share your writing.
- LibraryThing (LT) has several new features since our original overview including LT Local, which lists local book events; LT Early Reviews, where you can sign up to get Free Advance Copies of Books (Tip: You need to consistently review books you read).
- Visual Bookshelf by Living Social on Facebook integrates social networking for books into one of the largest social networks. It has all the basics, the main unique thing here is that it integrates with Facebook. Goodreads and Shelfari also have Facebook applications. You can explore it off of facebook at LivingSocial: Books
Post on your blog whether or not you ever been a member of a book club. Also discuss whether you prefer joining a in-person or online book club.
After viewing the resources above, what ideas come to mind for implementing a book club into your library. Post your thoughts and ideas onto your blog. Using one of the "live" book club resources, also look for a title that your book club could discuss.
Search for one of the books you selected in the first post on at least two of the social networks. Do the ratings for the book differ on each site, or are they similar? Did you find anything surprising?
HCPL Staff: Have you completed all three exercises in this module? Then Submit your Registration of Completion