Are you wondering what social distancing means for your book club? It means book club might look a little different, but it doesn’t have to fall off your calendar! Bookclubz can help you stay engaged with your book club (not to mention catch up on a lot of reading!) When public places and large social gatherings are off limits, books can help you maintain important connections with others.
We have put together a guide on how to “book club” while protecting yourself and others.
Try a Virtual Meeting!
Luckily there are many video conferencing services available! We recommend the following options: GoToMeeting, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype.
We've partnered with GoToMeeting to offer a 2 week free trial! If you decide to continue using GoToMeeting after the 2 week free trial, it's $12 per month for up to 150 participants. Please redeem your free trial by accessing this link.
After clicking on the link you will be prompted to create an account. You only need to enter your name and email. With GoToMeeting creating a meeting is easy. Click "Create Meeting", select time and date and then "save". You will see a generated link that you can share with your club by copying and pasting the link in the "location tab" of your club’s upcoming meeting.
Zoom is another great option. It's free, but will cut you off after 40 minutes, beware! If you anticpate lengthier conversations you can purchase a monthly plan. It's $14.99/month for up to 100 participants.
Once the account holder creates a meeting, there will be a sharable link. Copy and paste this link in the "location tab" of your club’s upcoming meeting.
Zoom has some best practices for hosting digital events here: https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/04/best-practices-for-hosting-a-digital-event/
This is a relatively new app. You can download the app for free to your phone or computer. Everyone in your book club will need to download House Party and create an account. Once you create you account you will have a profile link that you can copy and paste to share with others. Once you have added everyone in your bookclub as you friend on the app, you can start a chat! Something to keep in mind is that this app only allows 8 members per "party". Here is a step by step of how to download and start House Party on your phone.
This doesn’t require you to download anything! Navigate to https://hangouts.google.com/ where you will be asked to either join or start a meeting. If you are the admin in charge of hosting the meeting, choose “host a meeting”. A video of you will appear along with all the details you need to share with your club. Just like Zoom, you can copy and paste this link into the meeting location on Bookclubz.
If you don’t already have Skype, one member will need to download either on their computer or phone (both are free!). After you’ve created an account, you can then choose to “meet now”. Skype will generate a link that you can copy and paste into the meeting location on Bookclubz. Book club members who do not have Skype downloaded only need to click on the link and “join as guest”.
Edit a Posted Meeting:
As a reminder, it is very easy to edit an existing meeting if you need to postpone or change a meeting location to a virtual link. Go to your posted meeting, click “edit”, change the location or date, make sure “send an email to my club” box is checked, and press save. This will notify all members of the change and keep everyone on the same page.
But what if my book club is low tech and prefers not to stay in touch over video? That’s ok, we have suggestions for that too.
Start an Online Discussion:
Head to your book club either through the app or your computer and go to your club’s messages tab. Post a message to your members! Maybe you just want to check in or you want to share what you thought about your latest read? The messaging feature allows you to reach out to your entire club and members can reply to your specific message or address the group as a whole. Let the messaging tab serve as your online discussion board.
Use this time to add books to your club’s want to read tab. Navigate to your club, click on “books we want to read” and then “recommend a book”. Type in the book, click search, hover over the book and click “add”. This will provide reading inspiration for your club members and your poll for future months will have lots of good options!
We hope these tips help your book club stay together in times of flux and interruption. Please stay safe, keep others safe and don’t forget to check on your book club.