Rules to Make Your Book Club Run Smoothly

Book Club
Book Club. Jacob Wackerhausen / iStockphoto

When you're starting a book club it helps to set some ground rules to help ensure that all of your attendees feel welcome and want to return. Some of the rules may seem like common sense but making sure everyone is on the same page helps avoid unnecessary conflict.Having established rules can be especially important if you are starting a book club that's open to the general public. If you dislike obscene language, for example, a book club made of just your friends would probably already know to avoid swearing, but if you opened the club to strangers they might assume cursing was fine.

Having a rule in place would let everyone know the type of discourse to use.

When deciding on rules for your club you'll want to think about the kind of conversations you'd like to have. Are you focused on deep critical analysis or is it just for fun? It's also a good idea to think about the space you'll be holding your book club in. If you're meeting an public area like a library community room it might have its rules about things like bringing food or putting chairs away after the meeting. It's best to be aware of these when making your groups rules.

You'll probably come up with a few rules of your own but here's a list of some common book club rules to help you get started. If any of these rules don't appeal to you or you feel are unnecessary for your group simply ignore them and remember the most important thing of all is just to have fun!

  • The purpose of this book club is to read and enjoy literature! So, if you love books, and you're ready to discuss them... you're in the right place.
  • You may find that you disagree with something that another member of the group has said.
  • It is okay to disagree as long as it's done respectfully.
  • Inappropriate behavior and/or language will not be tolerated.
  • Please respect the authority of the moderator.
  • Keep on topic, but feel free to introduce information that is relevant to the discussion (historical facts, bio details, book background, related authors or topics).
  • No Spoilers! 
  • All meetings will start on time.
  • When you speak, please state your name.
  • Some book clubs include food or beverages. Don't forget to bring your assigned (or volunteered) food or drink.

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