Running a reading group event

Emma healey

Sarah Davis, reader development coordinator at Greenwich libraries gives us her top tips for running an author event:

For the last three years part of my role as the reader development coordinator for Greenwich libraries is to organise as well as to facilitate author events. During this time I have learned that each event is different and even well organised events do not always go according to plan!

Here are my tips for running author events:

  • The timing of your event is an important consideration. Once we had a talk during a Friday afternoon and only had three people came along; the next event we did was also on a Friday but in the evening and this time we had an audience of over 40.
  • For publicity, I often write a simple press release that I send to our marketing team who will publish it on our website and twitter. Some publishers will send out show cards, these are really useful so it is always worth asking if they can provide you with some. I also create posters and flyers, once these are up I put on a small display in the library.
  • I invite all the local reading group members to the event and also colleagues that work at other branches within the library service.
  • Once the date, time and venue has been organised I source the books to be sold. In the past I have purchased the books directly from the publishers but for the last event I invited the local bookseller along, which worked really well.
  • Some authors prefer to be interviewed, if this is the case I usually draft around 15 questions which I email to the author’s publicist for their approval.
  • The week before the event I write up a simple to do list – I include on this a plan of the seating arrangement and staffing requirements. It’s also important to keep in touch with the booksellers or publishers as I have had an incident where the books have not arrived. Finally enjoy your event!

Keeping your reading group active while social distancing

Are you wondering how your reading group can continue to meet, even while you’re social distancing? With many people at home with family, flatmates or on their own, we know that books are so important to provide comfort, solace and escapism. Staying socially connected, and keeping your regular reading group meetings in your diary, is going to be very important in keeping up morale and supporting everyone’s mental health as we adjust to a new way of living.

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How to start a reading group

Interested in joining a reading group or starting one of your own? Download our quick guide to getting started.

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Hive and The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency loves books, in every form, and we know you do too. We love it when people borrow books in every format from their brilliant local libraries. We love it when reading groups get exclusive free proofs from our publisher partners. We love it when readers pick up a pre-loved book from a second-hand bookshop for a song. And we also love it when you buy yourself or someone else a brand new book from a high street bookshop. We also know that buying online is quick and convenient...

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