This blog post was originally posted here.
I mentioned the other day that I am setting up a Stationery Club. I’d had the idea in my head for a while, ever since @wowser introduced me to the hashtag, but now it’s an actual thing. Now I have to do it.
I haven’t quite worked out of all the details yet. Still haven’t found a venue, or picked a date. I’m thinking of the first week of February, after payday. I have no idea how many people (if any) will actually turn up, so I don’t want to book a room in a pub in case no-one comes. At the same time, I don’t want a pub which is too busy in case lots of people suddenly appear brandishing ball points and fountain pens. It’s tricky.
And then there’s the night itself. How will that work? As I said before, I imagine it as like a book club but about stationery. Except, I have never actually been to a book club, so only have a vague idea of how they work. I looked on Google for information on how to run a book club. I found this.
1. Get together a core group – It is much easier to start a book club with two or three people who already have some connection. Ask around the office, play groups, or your church or civic organizations. Sometimes you might find enough people to start a book club right away.
I tried asking around in play groups to see if anyone want to come and join my club, but that didn’t work out too well. I am using Twitter and this blog instead.
2. Set a regular meeting time – An ideal size for a book club is 8 – 11 people. As you can imagine, it is often difficult to coordinate that many schedules. Go ahead and set a regular meeting time and date for your book club with your core group…By setting the time before advertising the book club, you avoid playing favorites when working around schedules and are up front about what commitment is required.
I think 8 – 11 people is perhaps a bit ambitious. It’s something to aim for though. I have possibly made an error by mentioning the club before deciding on a date and time. I just need to be more decisive.
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 in your circles of interest (school, work, church) with fliers or announcements. There are often also places to post fliers at the library, book stores and cafes.
I’m going to scribble a note on the test pads in Ryman. Are they even called “test pads”?
4. Establish ground rules – Get together with your potential book club members and set the group’s ground rules. (You might want everyone’s input; however, if you have set ideas of what you want, then set the rules with your core group and announce them at this first meeting). The ground rules should include how books are chosen, who hosts, who leads discussions and what kind of commitment is expected. If you did not set the meeting time with your core group, do that now.
I like how they give you the option of asking for the input of all the members, or being a bastard and setting all the grounds yourself, then organising a meeting to announce them. I am going to be a bastard, I think.
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.
I imagine that a lot of people would want to come to Stationery Club, but are nervous, timid types. Not everyone can be a visionary, a pioneer, like me.
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. Hopefully you’ll always have a core group, and together you can reload.
That last sentence sounds a bit weird, but I think I understand what they mean.
All in all, that article wasn’t very helpful.