Start Your Own ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club
Looking for ways to talk about solutions to human trafficking, sexual assault, girls’ education, or other feminist issues? AAUW’s ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club offers you a socially meaningful way to start a dialogue on women, diversity, and change.
¡Adelante! is part of AAUW’s diversity outreach. Designed to recognize AAUW members’ love of reading and desire to seek out books written from and about diverse viewpoints, the book club helps readers explore new ideas and perspectives through monthly discussions, both in person and on e-mail. ¡Adelante! book groups meet in book stores, libraries, other public venues, and online, gathering both members and nonmembers to talk about social justice issues based on the month’s selection. You can even use the ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club to organize an AAUW event in your community!
Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Realize that it’s more than a book club — it’s a growth opportunity!
Starting a book group is an excellent recruitment opportunity. People get to learn about your branch and AAUW’s work while engaging with others and sharing their ideas on issues they care about. Make a point of sharing some information about AAUW at the beginning of your first meeting to make sure everyone there knows about the organization and how they can get involved.
Step 2: Gather your group.
Step 3: Choose a book.
Every year, AAUW publishes a list of selections for the ¡Adelante! Book of the Month Club. Choose the book for the month in which you want to hold your event, or select any book on the list that interests you.
Step 4: Find a venue.
The most successful book group meetings are face to face, so hold the event in a local library, coffee shop, or use video-conferencing software like Skype or Google Hangout. Remember that where you have your event can attract different groups and members of your community.
Step 5: Plan your discussion prompts.
Some books will come with discussion questions in the back of the book or on the author’s or publisher’s website that you can use to prompt discussion at your book group event. No guide? No problem! You can find general ideas for discussion questions from the website Reading Group Guides, which breaks down question suggestions by genre. Another way to plan discussion prompts is to solicit questions from your members. Find out what points intrigued them about the book and discuss those!
Step 6: Promote the event and sell tickets.
Make flyers and post them at your local library, college or university, community center, and local businesses. Create a Facebook event to share on your branch’s Facebook page and other social media platforms. Post the event on your branch’s website, highlight it in your newsletter, and send the information to the webmaster of other groups that would be interested in the content. The more people who learn about the event, the more chances you have to bring in new attendees!
If you’re charging admission, determine how that will be handled. Some AAUW branches have had success using Eventbrite. If you don’t feel comfortable asking members to pay, you can always make the event free for members but charge nonmembers (an added incentive to join).
Step 7: Follow up.
Don’t lose those attendees when your event is over! Book groups will bring in new faces, so have sign-in sheets at your event that collect names and, at a minimum, e-mail addresses. Send out a follow-up e-mail detailing future book group events or AAUW meetings, and ask your readers what issues they’re interested in. Show attendees what they can do about the problems women face. Keep them engaged, and you’ll soon see how quickly they become new members or supporters. Even better, use the Shape the Future campaign to sign up new members on the spot!
Join AAUW’s book discussion with author Sarah Deer as she confronts the problem of violence against Native women.
AAUW member and author Diane Michael Cantor discusses her novel, The Poisoned Table, about real-life actress Fanny Kemble and Isabel Graves.
Join former AAUW fellow and author Sherie Randolph for an online discussion of her book about this leader in the black power and feminist movements.