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Starting a reading group

Would you like to start a new reading group?

Did you know that reading groups can borrow multiple copies of books from their local library and keep them for six weeks?

Apply for a reading group card at your local library and we can help you choose suitable books then we'll gather together enough copies for you to borrow for your reading group.

Hints and tips before you start

  • Where do you want to meet?
    You can meet anywhere according to you and your group's preferences. Or you could meet in your local library during opening hours, and become a library-based reading group. Speak to library staff to find out more.
  • How many members do you want to have?
    This will be driven by where you meet but generally 6–12 is a good number to give everyone the opportunity to participate in discussions.
  • How often do you want to meet?
    Many groups meet monthly and this fits well with our six–week borrowing time but you could meet more frequently too.
  • What type of books do you want to read and how will you choose your next book?
    At your first meeting it can be helpful to start with a book-related icebreaker to explore preferences or you might like to bring a choice of titles, borrowed from the library, to initiate discussion and identify preferred genres and titles for future meetings. You could also ask library staff for recommendations or view our lists of suitable titles on the resources for reading groups page of the Surrey Libraries website for inspiration.
  • Who will lead the discussion and make sure that everyone shares their thoughts respectfully?
    It is a good idea to choose someone from within the group to lead the discussion, so that the conversation remains focussed and everyone shares their thoughts respectfully. In a library-based group this role would be fulfilled by the volunteer Reading Group Host.

For more helpful information, take a look at the resources for reading groups page for reading lists, useful websites, book reviews and the reading groups' newsletter. If you need more help getting started there are lots of useful hints and tips on the Reading Club website.

Useful information about using your reading group's library card

  • Your reading group library card must have a named contact.
    This person is responsible for all material borrowed and any outstanding charges. You can change your named contact by visiting any library with your reading group card and proof of address of the new named contact.
  • Multiple copies can be requested at any library or by calling 03456 009 009 but not via our website.
  • You can borrow most titles from the library catalogue as long as at least 15 copies are available to reserve for fiction titles, or 10 for non-fiction. This can be a combination of hardback or paperback books and can include large print books or audio books if necessary for any member of your group. Regularly updated lists of reservable books can be viewed on the resources for reading groups page. Reading groups may not borrow language courses or play sets.
  • It costs £3.25 to reserve multiple copies of a title on a reading group card.
  • Books must be reserved and borrowed on the reading group card and not individuals' library cards. Please note that the named contact will be responsible for all loans.
  • You can borrow multiple copies of a title without reserving if sufficient copies are on display in a library.
  • Reserved books will be kept for two weeks from the day the final book arrives in the library.
  • If we have an email address for your group we will email you as each of your books arrives in the library. If you would prefer not to receive multiple emails you can request this when you reserve your books. If you choose not to receive notification emails you will need to visit your library or call 03456 009 009 to find out if your books have arrived.
  • Books are issued to reading groups for 6 weeks.
    Books can be renewed unless another customer has requested the book in which case the book must be returned at the end of the six-week period to avoid overdue charges.
  • The named contact is responsible for overdue charges and charges for lost or damaged books.
  • Group members can collect books without the reading group cardholder being present.
    The group member will be required to sign a sheet noting their name and the library barcode number of the book collected. The named contact may prefer to collect all books themselves and keep their own record of which books are allocated to each group member by noting the individual library barcode numbers.
  • Overdue charges will be at the normal rate charged per day.
  • We prefer to have an email address for the reading group so we can contact you if necessary.
    This would allow us to let you know when your books have arrived and, if you are interested, we would also send our regular reading groups' newsletter and other news from Surrey libraries.

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