Book Club Bash is a fun, after-hours program for enthusiastic readers. We re-open on a Friday night at 7 p.m. for this event. The evening includes a dessert reception, raffle drawings, talks with publishers about new releases, and the highlight: "speed dating for books," an activity in which participants quickly exchange book recommendations in various categories.
We've hosted Book Club Bash for three consecutive years, starting in July 2013, and the program continues to grow each year. In 2015, we had 74 people attend. Patrons are very enthusiastic about their experience and request that we offer it each year.
Our goal is to provide a lively social event for avid readers, and to encourage reading by creating excitement about existing titles and new releases through book talks and recommendations. Book lovers are passionate about their favorite books and love to share recommendations. We started planning about six months in advance to secure the speakers.
We promoted this event to our existing library book clubs and Book Club in a Bag patrons. We also reached out to patrons who attended author visits hosted at the library. We asked them to bring their book clubs or friends who were book lovers.
Our primary costs relate to the dessert reception and souvenir notebooks participants use for keeping track of all of the book suggestions.
The evening commences with a dessert reception and display tables featuring library programs and reader’s advisory services. Attendees enter raffles for advance reading copies and signed copies from library author events.
Then we move on to “speed dating for books.” Local book blogger Lauren Margolin ("The Good Book Fairy" ) facilitates an exchange of book recommendations. Guests queue up in two lines, facing each other. Lauren announces a category such as “favorite book about mothers and daughters,” and each pair exchanges ideas. Then guests move down one spot in the line, and Lauren announces a new category for the new pairs. The activity generates lots of excitement as people try to recall and describe their favorite books. We provide souvenir Book Club Bash-themed notebooks for note-taking.
Next are book talks from the library’s Random House sales representatives, John Hastie and Laura Baratto. They describe current books that are strong choices for book club selections, along with upcoming hot books to anticipate.
The evening concludes with raffle drawings and information about accessing the books discussed from the library.
Reach out directly to your patrons who are reading regularly and participating in your book discussion groups. Encourage them to bring another friend or their entire book club. And stick with it — we started out with 40 people the first year and have seen a 50 percent increase.
About This Library
The Vernon Area Public Library District is located in a northern suburb of Chicago. We serve a population of 42,900 within a 29-square-mile area that includes Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove and Long Grove, Ill. Our library offers many types of book club discussions: weekday morning and afternoon discussions, a non-fiction book club, a millennial book club and a teen book club.