Book Groups

Being part of a book group is a popular pastime and there are a number of active groups in Perth and Kinross.

We have a large collection of pdficon Book Sets [2Mb] exclusively for the use of groups that are registered with the library service. Some of the sets include large print and audio editions for visually impaired members; these have been highlighted.

Starting a Book Group

While some are library-run, most are private, so if you don’t know anybody in a group, you may wish to start one yourself. It can be as casual as a few friends meeting to chat about a chosen title or a larger, more formal group who specify membership criteria and have structured meetings.

Structure of the group

Book groups can have as few as 3 or 4 members. There is no upper limit but existing ones have found that things become unmanageable with more than 12 people.  Meetings can take place in a variety of locations; a small set of friends may decide to take it in turns to host the group in their own home, while people who don’t know each other very well may prefer to meet on neutral territory such as a café.

Once the venue has been chosen, you need to decide when and how often you will meet.  Some groups get together on the last Thursday of every month, for example, while others operate on an ad hoc basis. Everyone in the group should agree on the date and time.

Choosing what to read and talk about

There’s a huge range of possibilities open to you – this is part of the pleasure of being in a book group.  You can take turns to suggest a title, debate what to read next or use the Sunday supplements for ideas. You can introduce fellow members to your favourite author or book, or all take a gamble and try something completely unknown.

Having read the agreed book, the group meets to discuss it.  Book group members and their approaches vary widely; some look for hidden meanings and carry out a thorough literary critique, while others prefer to simply say whether or not they enjoyed the book and why. There is no specific formula that must be followed.

If you would like some ideas on what to talk about, here are some suggestions for pdficon fiction [26kb] and pdficon non-fiction [26kb] titles.  Differing opinions lead to interesting discussions!

Getting started

Groups must be registered with us in order to use this service. Please email the following information to LibraryBookGroups@culturepk.org.uk and the Book Group Support Team based at the A. K. Bell Library will create a borrower record for you. There is a pdficon new Book Group form [21kb] you can use.

  • Name of the book group
  • The organiser’s name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Number of members
  • When/how often you will be meeting
  • Which library you will collect the books from
  • How long you want the books to be issued for (usually 4, 6 or 8 weeks; please note this period should include two weeks ‘travelling time’ if a collection is going to be picked up and returned to a branch library)

Please email your requests to LibraryBookGroups@culturepk.org.uk at least a week before you want to collect them and confirm the collection date. In case the title you want is on loan or already requested by other groups, please let us know in advance if you have a second or third choice you would be happy to take instead.

As we manage a very busy diary, it is vital that we know when collections will be available for other groups; please return complete sets on time and let us know if there will be any delays.

When you collect your set of books from the site requested, they will already be issued to your Book Group and ready to go. On the lid of the box will be the delivery details and a list of the books’ barcodes. You can use this to keep track of which member has which book, if you wish.

Where possible all communication should be via email. This allows us to have a written record of what is required.

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