Monday, November 21, 2005

Book Club Guidelines

Here are some guidelines for our club from the founder of the Northern Virginia progressive book club:

Action-Oriented Political Book Club Guidelines

The methodology is purposively simple so it can easily be duplicated. The main elements are as follows:

A. Membership is open to new members and each member is encouraged to bring a guest and new clubs are encouraged.
B. Members select a book for discussion.
C. A portion of each meeting is reserved to discuss an action item for each member. For example, after reading Cornell West's Democracy Matters each member is going to have a purposeful conversation where they LISTEN to someone with an opposing viewpoint.
D. Report back at the beginning of the next meeting about their action assignment. In order to articulate our values and form bridges we need support. One goal is informed discussion within the democratic process.

The format of a meeting is as follows.

1) INTRODUCTIONS of each person attending. With a sentence or two about what would make this group worthwhile to you?

2) REPORT BACK actions/sharing of experiences – 15 min.

3) OVERVIEW of current book.

4) DISCUSSION FOLLOWING DIALOGUE QUIDELINES of Respect and Confidentiality so that all have a chance to talk safely, i.e. Time your comments to allow everyone the opportunity to speak before you make another point. The leader for each month is the person who has chosen the book for that month. They will want to choose a book they have some enthusiasm and energy about.

5) Take something from each book into the community/choose a special assignment: action examples:

Start you own book club
Write a letter to your local newspaper.
Discuss issues with someone who may have a different viewpoint
Other special projects as suggested in the monthly meeting.


Blogger Stu Whitaker said...

Hi Jason! I was an active participant in the Virginia group you refer to--including, in fact, creating its blog ( However, that group has taken a decidedly undemocratic turn, stifling dissent, and proving that even little "d" democracy is a challenge. I hope your group remains more true to progressive principles!

9:40 AM  

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