The main floor of the Library has reopened for browsing, indoor assistance, and computer use by appointment! The Library has new capacity limits so that we can maintain social distancing, and wearing masks or face coverings is required. Virtual programming, curbside pick-up, and outside services will continue.

How to Host a Virtual Book Club

Your library is here to help you continue your book club during these unusual times. While we do offer many great online resources, not all of them provide the ability for groups to borrow multiple copies of the same title for their members. This is where Hoopla comes in!

On Hoopla, every title is instantly available — no holds and no wait lines! This means groups of any size can access a single title all at the same time, allowing everyone to start reading or listening right away.Hoopla offers access to digital eBooks, audiobooks, comics, movies, television, and music.


How can I organize and connect with my book club?


Goodreads Groups

Goodreads groups allow you to add members, post on discussion boards, list upcoming meetings, and virtually shelve all the books your book club has completed. Goodreads accounts are free to create and required to participate in a Goodreads group.

Facebook Groups

Anyone with an active Facebook account can create a Facebook Group, allowing you to invite group members, create posts and events, share photos and videos, and much more. Groups can be made private so only invited members may join or can be left public, granting any Facebook user the option to join.


How can we meet remotely?


Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is a fully encrypted, open source video conferencing solution that allows anyone to start a video conference for free, without the hassle of making an account.

Zoom

Zoom is one of the many video conferencing services available to meet virtually by either video or audio. Once an account is created by the host, they can share the link with their members. The free account allows you to host video conferences for up to 100 participants.

Discord

Discord offers easy communication over voice, video, and text. Chat, hang out, and stay close with your friends and communities, and store your discussions and video sessions all in one location.

Facebook Messenger

Since anyone with a Facebook account can connect instantly through their Messenger chat service, Facebook Messenger is a convenient connection tool for book clubs that use a Facebook group to stay in touch. This option is most commonly used for text based discussions but also allows chat via video or audio.

Google Hangouts

Hangouts can be used to meet with your members via video, audio, or text. With the ability to add in photos, maps, emoji, stickers, and GIFs, this is a great service for clubs looking to add more dimension to their discussions.

Videoconferencing Services Guide

Keep in mind that the services above are recommended for their easy-to-use features and may not be the best options for every group. Explore Consumer Reports’ guide to videoconferencing services to find the perfect solution for your book club’s needs.

 

How do I find our next book?


Hoopla Book Club Hub

Hoopla also offers the Book Club Hub, a place to find recommendations and title-specific resources. They also release a new Spotlight Selection quarterly, which features a discussion guide, author interview, and an additional eight recommended titles, found under the Past Spotlights section, to meet the diverse interests of any group.

NoveList Plus

NoveList Plus will provide helpful recommendations for your book club’s next read! Search by title or author to find suggestions. Go deeper and search by genre, theme, pace, tone, writing style, and more!

Goodreads

Goodreads does more than just provide a place to meet and discuss. Search for your favorite title and see what other readers also enjoyed. Also browse user created themed lists for more suggestions.

 

How can I kick off our discussion? Are there good resources for potential talking points?


Reading Group Guides

This website offers almost 5,000 guides, which include each book’s plot, an author bio, and dozens of potential discussion questions. Others even suggest hands-on activities centered around the story that your club can do together.

LitLovers

LitLover is very similar to Reading Group Guides but covers an array of different titles. They offer not only discussion questions, but also tips on how to lead and participate in the discussion. If they don’t have a guide for the book your club is reading they present general guides for Fiction or Nonfiction titles to help get you started.


How do I access Hoopla or get assistance with these services?


If you or any of your book club members don’t have a Library card yet, sign up online! A Library card will give you access to Hoopla and all of the Library’s other online resources.

E-mail merrimackpl@merrimacklibrary.org or Book-a-Librarian for assistance with any of these resources. Our staff are happy to walk you through any online tool, help find personalized reading suggestions, or answer general questions.