Joining or starting a reading group is a great way to make new friends who share your love of books. Being part of a reading group can encourage you to read more and discover different authors and titles.
Join a reading group
Some of our libraries have reading groups that are open to new members. They meet in the library. Ask in your local library for more details. Or read on to find out about starting a new group.
Online reading groups
Online options include:
- The Really Popular Book Club – Cambridge University Libraries’ online book club, open to everyone. They only discuss really popular books.
- Good Reads - online discussion groups and forums.
- Virtual Groups from Reading Groups for Everyone - online reading groups registered with Reading Groups for Everyone.
Set up a reading group
Cambridgeshire Libraries offers a reading group card. This allows a group to borrow multiple copies of the same title for an extended loan period.
- There is an annual subscription charge of £35, shared between group members.
- We use reading group subscriptions to buy new reading group sets and to help pay for the cost of transporting your chosen books to your local library.
- If your group borrows regularly, the subscription will save you money on reservations.
We have a wide variety of books available as reading group sets. Browse our reading group recommendations on the online catalogue.
Library staff can recommend titles or help you search the catalogue. They can reserve books for your group. Or the group’s main contact can make reservations online using your reading group card.
First, speak to staff in your local library. They can advise you on how to recruit members. For example by asking friends, putting up a poster in the library, using social media or putting a notice in a local newsletter.
Once you have a group of people, decide together:
- where and how often you want to meet
- what kind of books you want to read and talk about
- any other details (for example, do you want to serve refreshments?)
A good number for a reading group is 8-10 members. But you can start small and grow! When you have enough members, register your group with the library.
To register your reading group, visit your local library and speak to a member of staff.
You will need:
- a name for your group
- one person from the group to register as the main contact
- that person will need their own library card, or if not already a library member, another form of ID such as proof of address
Existing reading groups in the community are welcome to register for a library reading group card.
Please pay the annual subscription of £35 per group. You can pay in your library, or online using your reading group’s library account.
How reading group membership works
We offer a reading group card for a subscription charge of £35 per group, per year.
- Your group's main contact will need their own library card to register for a group card. If not already a member, the main contact will need another form of ID such as proof of address.
- Your main contact can use your reading group card to reserve books for your group.
- Groups can have up to 12 reservations per month, with an extended loan period of 6 weeks. This is a considerable saving compared to each group member reserving books individually.
- We have a wide selection of both fiction and non-fiction reading group sets, with 12 copies per set. Browse our reading group recommendations on the online catalogue.
- You may also choose books that are on our online catalogue but not in reading group sets, if there are enough available copies of the title your group wants to read. Library staff will help you with this.
- Some titles are also available in a large print, spoken word, eBook or eAudiobook version for visual or print-impaired readers.
- Your main contact can use your reading group card to reserve books for your group. Or come into the library and staff will be happy to help.
- When you reserve a title, please allow at least 2 weeks for the books to arrive.
When reserving titles, avoid frustration by choosing titles that don’t already have lots of requests on them. It’s a good idea to have alternatives ready when checking the catalogue or asking staff.
Some of Cambridgeshire Libraries’ eBook and eAudiobook titles are available in multiple copies. This means lots of people can use them at the same time, so they are suitable for reading groups. You can download these for free with your own library card (instead of using a reading group card).
eBook and eAudiobook versions can also make your reading group more accessible for people who are blind, or visually impaired. You can check whether alternative formats are available on the catalogue or ask library staff to help.
Your group’s books should be ready to collect from your chosen library no later than 2 weeks after you reserve them.
Books can be issued to the group's card and later returned at the self-service machine. You can print a receipt. This will show the due date and any other books that your group still has out on loan. You can use it to make a note of who in the group has which copy.
Items can be renewed for another 6 weeks, if they are not wanted by another customer. You can renew your books:
Groups are liable for late charges, as with other book loans. Please renew any books that have not been returned, or let us know if you can't.
If your group would like to suggest a title for a new reading group set, please suggest a reading group book. We can't purchase every suggested title, but we will consider each one.
Your group's main contact can check your group’s account online - log in using your group’s library card and PIN.
You will be able to:
- see when your new books have arrived
- renew books that are issued to the group
- make payments to the reading group’s account
You can also make your group’s reservations online. Or come into the library and staff will be happy to help.
Reading book recommendations
Websites with book recommendations to help you choose your group’s next book include:
Reading group newsletter
We publish an occasional online newsletter for reading groups. We send it to each group’s main contact, but individual members can also subscribe.