Post-Class Post: Book Clubs

I have been rather bad and haven’t done my post-class reflection until today, a good week and a half after the class in question. But reflect we shall. Our class session focused on socratic seminar and book clubs. The conversation specifically derailed into a conversation about why there aren’t more male book clubs.

I find the conversation, in retrospect, to be a tad patronizing. If men wanted book clubs, they would have book clubs. Certainly we can argue all we want about the devils of society stopping men from having conversations in their local library about great books, but I’m not sure what the point would be. Our job as librarians is to give the community what they want and need. I don’t think men need book clubs. It would be an interesting research project to find out the gender breakdown of book circulation. I think we would find that men read about as much as women, though probably slightly different genres as I can’t imagine men making a dent in the romance books.

Just the other day I was walking over by the union and overheard two frat-boy bro types discussing whether what books they liked to read and where they got their recommendations. The conversation was casual, I believe one called the other gay for liking Stephen King. Men discuss books.

I have a theory that perhaps book clubs just fit women friendships better (generalizing). When women become friends, the first thing they want is a “slumber party” period where they talk for long periods. That is how women know they are friends. Then they go do things together, as friends. Men generally do some activity together first, which cements their friendship. The large discussion period is not as important. A book club is very similiar to this discussion period in women’s lives, but not that important to men.

In the great grand scheme of library problems, I would put the lack of mens book clubs very low. Probably ranked higher would be access to books, access to internet, access to job help and so on.


About Ilana the Librarian

I am an aspiring librarian at the University of Michigan.
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3 Responses to Post-Class Post: Book Clubs

  1. Kristin says:

    I think that there’s a macro-issue lying beneath this gender question, which is, “How much library programming appeals to the majority in your community?” Particularly in a public library setting, which is where we’re most likely to host book clubs for patrons, what does it mean if library millage voters are male and female but the programming tends to appeal only to females? What might the potential millage perils be if libraries focus much of its energy on activities that might only appeal to half of the voters at most?

    • Well that is certainly brings up an interesting set of issues. I have heard in the past elderly people are specifically catered to by libraries since they are such a solid voting population.
      I wonder if women who participate in book clubs are more likely to vote for millages? I also wonder if people who participate in library programming are more likely to vote for millages, or if there are more defining characteristics such as education or financial status? Wonder if there’s any data on that…

  2. Laura B says:

    The two guys “discussing books” made me laugh and sort of cry simultaneously. The labels that we put on each other, the lables we put on ourselves, the labels that hurt us or make us feel safe, depending on the context…

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