How can we talk to each other about things that matter?
In each Maine Humanities Council Book Group, between ten and twenty-five people with shared work experience meet for a series of discussions about readings connected to a topic or issue important to them. A facilitator encourages depth and breadth in the conversation, creating a good atmosphere for a discussion in which everyone has ample opportunity to share their ideas and questions with one another. People tell us that these Book Groups enable meaningful, sometimes transformative, collective reflection on life and work; enhance mutual appreciation even among people who don’t encounter each other day-to-day; and, crucially, that Book Group is a good time.
Book Group programs are hosted by a wide variety of Organizations. All Groups follow the same basic guidelines and structure, but each Book Group has its own particular character – all of the logistics, including the program’s title, are determined in close collaboration with the Organization.
People who have participated in Maine Humanities Council’s Book Group programs – whether through a hospital’s Literature & Medicine program, or through a school’s Lit & Ed program, or through the Book Group at a domestic violence resource center – have let us know that the experience was deeply valuable to them.
Participants report increases in their empathy for patients and clients, cultural awareness, interpersonal skills, communication, and job satisfaction. They say things like: “Listening to my co-workers in this setting really gave me another, shared, perspective and respect for them” and “The group discussions were tremendously helpful.”
The most powerful indicator that Book Group works is that people keep doing it. Many of our partner Organizations have hosted Book Groups every year for years – and each time there is a lively mix of people who have participated before and people trying it out for the first time.
We work closely with each Organization that hosts a Book Group, and value these partnerships highly.
Register by 15 May for the Fall.
(starting in August, September, October or November)
Register by 15 October for Winter / Spring.
(starting in January, February, March, or April)