Book Groups

Hosted by vital partners all over Maine, our book groups enable participants to meet each other more fully.


Ask us about bringing a book group to your community.


Book Group for Work

How can we talk to each other about things that matter?

Let's Talk About It-42 (1)

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.

Interested in hosting a Book Group?
Review the program guidelines

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)


  • “This helped foster communication across the hierarchy of medical culture, which was great and much needed.”


  • "The book group was an excellent opportunity to come together as a staff
    and talk about issues of concern that we don't often get an opportunity
    during school-sponsored workshops to discuss."


  • "I found myself feeling better connected to the day to day issues
    affecting the many young people I have had the good fortune to teach."


  • “I am amazed by how differently we read these books. It makes me wonder how differently we hear our patients’ stories. And how our patients perceive us.”


  • “I now think about what people are feeling when they approach my desk, and I am more conscious of the fact that I am the first person they speak to when they come to the hospital.”

    -Hospital Receptionist

  • “I always knew my role [as a nurse] was valuable, but I think I more fully understand how far-reaching that can be. I have learned how important it is to listen to each individual, to hear what their need is and also to hear the needs of the extended family."


  • "Our staff is often without opportunities to have deep, professional
    discussions outside of our departments. This is such a shame. This
    experience was a chance to know and share time with colleagues who I don't
    often see or spend time with. There is one colleague who I have had some
    trouble with... we have very different outlooks. I have come to understand
    a bit more about where she is coming from, which has encouraged me to seek
    her out on a couple of occasions to check in informally. I have felt
    better about this relationship, and I believe that the exposure through
    this group has been what has sparked a change."


  • “The program helps me reaffirm the need to attempt to bring a supportive healing attitude to my work area.”


  • “I joined this group due to burnout. Burnout is not about waiting until you feel like you can’t do your job—it’s constantly asking yourself what you are doing and feeling and helping prevent burnout from occurring by paying attention every day, not waiting until too late.”