Book clubs are a sanctuary for many readers—a place to connect with likeminded friends, to dive deep into bookish discussions, and to celebrate a love of the written word. For clubs that meet in person, social distancing means changing how the group runs. While some groups may opt for virtual meetings, others might choose to go on a hiatus, especially if members need to focus on more pressing concerns. For clubs going on a break, here are some tips for a smooth transition.

Don’t force it
This is a time to be understanding of members’ needs. Some may be looking for activities to dedicate their time to, but others might have far more serious situations to manage. It can be difficult to put a pause on something that brings you joy, but know you’re making the best decision for your group.

 

Communicate early and often
When putting your club on pause, you may be worried that taking a break means that communications could break down and it might be hard to get started again. You can head off that problem by communicating with members early about the club’s break, and sending regular updates during the hiatus to keep everyone in the loop.

 

Keep reading
Just because your book club isn’t meeting regularly for a set period of time doesn’t mean you have to stop reading. Keep those pages turning, and who knows–you might even find the next great book that your club will love! However, if you are finding it difficult to focus on books right now, give yourself permission to take a break and come back when you’re ready.

 

Stay in touch
Times are stressful, and our connections to each other will help us to get through. Stay in touch with your group to check in on everyone’s mental health, wellbeing, and even what they’re reading lately.

 

Come back with ideas
A break is a great time to think about what’s working in your book club, and what isn’t. You just might come back to your club with fresh new ideas about how to make your meetings even better.

 

Make a plan to reconnect
When the future seems uncertain, it can be hard to make plans. Set a check in date with members, and if that date comes around and social distancing is still in effect you can reconsider virtual meetings or extend the hiatus.

 

Find other reading outlets
Self care is important right now, and book clubs can provide much-needed connection with other people. If your group is taking a hiatus, encourage members who do still want to be part of an active book community to take part in reading challenges such as Bookish Bingo, to attend virtual events, or to consider joining or creating a virtual group.

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