Action Tips: How to Start a Book Club

Boy on track reading a book

Starting a book club is an awesome way to get friends into your cause on a deeper level. Every book is causey in some way (except for maybe cookbooks?) so just find the best one, tell your parents to load up on snacks, give your friends a few weeks to finish reading, and get clubbing. You can also reach out to literacy programs in your area and invite anyone who's working on literacy to join!

Here's How:

  1. Get together a group of seasoned clubbers or cause-rockers - It is much easier to start a book club with two or three people who are already into the cause or the book. Ask friends in your English class, make a status on Facebook, or visit different club meetings. Kids who are already involved in social change are more likely to take you up on your proposition.
  2. Set a regular meeting time – Some say the ideal size for a book club is 8 – 11 people, but you can have as few as two. The point is to have people as interested as you. Aim for once a month so people will have time to read the book and the meeting doesn’t conflict with people’s busy schedules. If you don't have a good room to use in your house, see if your school or church will provide a room.
  3. Advertise your book club - The best advertising is often word of mouth. If you have a core group of three, and you each know two people who want to join, then all you have to do to start a book club is ask these people. This is a good way to meet friends of friends. If your core group doesn't know of other people to ask, then advertise online! There are often also places to post fliers at the library, book stores and cafes.
  4. Establish ground rules - Get together with your potential book club members and set the group's ground rules. The ground rules should include how books are chosen, who hosts, who leads discussions and what kind of commitment is expected.
  5. Meet - Set a schedule for the first few months and start meeting. If the book club is small at first, don't worry about it. Invite people as you go. Some people will be more likely to join an already established book club because they feel less pressure than they would as a founding member.
  6. Keep meeting and inviting people - Even if your book club is an ideal size, from time to time you'll have the chance to invite new people as other members move away or drop out. Don't be discouraged if you lose members. People's schedules and commitments change.


  1. Example Ground Rules: A different person will host each month. The host is responsible for picking the book, leading the discussion and providing the snack (if any). Place no restrictions on what books the host chooses – as long as it's cause related - everything's fair game.
  2. Leading the Discussion: The leader of the group should have a list of questions printed out to help the discussion be as awesome as possible.