The first rule of book club is…

Prior to the pandemic, when you heard the term ‘book club’, you would think of a group of people who know each other IRL (in real life), talking about physical books, whilst physically present, however, that’s all changed. 

Although book clubs aren’t entirely new, they’re new to Kortext.  

Our customers based at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust’s Knowledge & Library Services have gone digital with their book club, making it more inclusive, accessible and easier than ever to be a part of.  

Hayley Beresford and Danielle Lake organise the MTW Library book club, with everything from the book selection to the meeting itself taking place on Twitter. 

Stating the inspiration behind the great venture, Hayley said: “We used to have a traditional, face-to-face book club, but given Covid, that was no longer possible so we thought we’d try it on Twitter. 

“So… the inspiration was Covid and making the best of a bad situation, and sort of… how can we still get people involved in reading books on the topic of medical humanity and we thought Twitter would be a really good way because it’s accessible to most people…” 

Accessibility is an integral part of ensuring no one gets left behind. With the Kortext platform, there are a range of accessibility options to suit users, such as ‘Read Aloud’, the option to change to a dyslexia friendly font, alt text for images and transcripts of all audio and video content.  

On the topic of medical humanity, the book chosen via a Twitter Poll during Black History Month was Reni Eddo-Lodge’s “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race”, which is a part of the Diversity Collection available via Kortext.  

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race: The #1 Sunday Times Bestseller: Eddo-Lodge, Reni: 9781408870587: Books

The book club will take place on Monday 6th December 2021 at 12pm.  

It’s taking place in a lunch hour – you don’t have to spend a lot of time doing it. You can dip in and out as you want. You don’t even have to engage in the discussion at that time. Because it’s on Twitter – you can engage in the evening if you want to.  

 “For healthcare we work in an acute NHS trust, people are busy, they might not have time but we wanted to reduce as many barriers as we could and Twitter was the best way to host a book club… and obviously, we’re librarians, we love books! 

 “We were trying to rebuild our service a bit after Covid. It was important to put ourselves back out there with our colleagues as a service that we offer.” 

The traditional library provides core materials, such as journals and books, but the MTW Library also provides training for staff for their qualifications and evidence-based practice. 

On the addition of a book club, Hayley said: “It’s nice and it fits in well with a wellbeing strategy.”  

 A pull factor for a traditional book club is the feeling of togetherness, and from the perspective of an outsider (I am not a librarian, nor am I someone who works for the NHS), I felt comfortable enough engaging on Twitter and subsequently becoming a member of the book club. 

 Have the lovely librarians at MTW Library inspired you? 

 Visit them on Twitter and join their book club! 

 Want to go a step further and start your own?

Here are some top tips on starting your own book club using Kortext.

1) Find the perfect digital space for your book club to meet 

It could be on Twitter or Microsoft Teams. Did you know you can have the Kortext  platform embedded within your Microsoft Teams app? 

2) Pick a name 

You don’t want it to be a strange one like the Wealdstone Readers if you’re not in Wealdstone because a name tends to stick.  

3) How many members?
The more members, the harder it is to manage when it comes to book clubs, especially if you’ve got a busy day job. Think about how many people you can realistically communicate with and allow them to feel included.  

4) Select a book and discussion date
We’ve heard the most effective way to do this is via polls. That way, everyone’s vote is taken into account and the majority rule wins. 

5) Open the discussion as soon as people begin reading
By keeping conversation of the book open, people will feel included and it will also help to maintain both engagement and excitement. With Kortext, you can create groups and share discussion notes throughout the month. 

6) Speaking of discussion… questions…
Sometimes the publisher of the book may have already pre-written questions in anticipation of the book being used for book clubs, so do check those out! 

7) Have the next book chosen before the end of your book club meeting
This will help to keep momentum going. Kortext has a wide array of books suitable for all types of book clubs that can be used on any device, anywhere, anytime. 

8) Have fun!
A book club isn’t just to expand your knowledge, it’s a good chance to make new friends, gain new perspectives and learn more about yourself through reading.  

P.s, the first rule of book club is… well, we can’t tell you. You’ve got to join one to find out!


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