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Cover Image of The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek published by Serpent's Tail
Cover Image of Dune by Frank Herbert published by Ace
Cover Image of The Wettest County in the World: A Novel Based on a True Story by Matt Bondurant published by Scribner
Cover Image of Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper: A Novel by Harriet Scott Chessman published by Plume
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moderator-led groups

BookBuffet offers a Moderator Finder feature (must be a BB member), with a growing list of professionals joining our ranks and ready to help your group. 

This type of book group is looking for more structure and professional involvement.  Members who belong (or wish to belong) to this type of book group typically say that they want to “get more out of a session” than their friends’ personal anecdotes and feelings about a work of literature.


Moderators, also known as speakers or facilitators, are generally persons with a literary or academic background, such as an advanced degree in literature or writing. They may be published authors, or former or current teachers, librarians, and editors. We’ve heard that actors and performers have been also successful in this role.


Moderator fees vary. Some moderators charge per member, others per group. We know of one moderator who even has his groups donate his fees to his favorite charity.


Moderator-led groups can be similar to living room groups in their size and exclusivity (6-12 members), or they can be as large as 100 people signing up to meet for a specific book discussion in a public venue, such as library or school auditorium.


Moderator-led groups can meet regularly, or the services of a moderator can be engaged for selected books. Engaging the services of a moderator for all meetings may encompass the moderator suggesting all or some authors and titles throughout the year, with closely led discussions resembling lectures, to moderated "open" discussions where the moderator provides background information, and asks questions and prompts discussion from the members.  Deciding the scope of a moderator’s responsibility is part of the selection process of the group and it's preferences.


A moderator-led book group discussion may provide a more passive yet academic examination of literature. Or it may provide a heightened discussion and involvement by the members. The format and outcome of any moderator-led group discussion is dependent on the quality and abilities of the moderator and the preferences and active participation of the group. In any event, a challenging and engaging moderator can enhance any book discussion.


Sometimes Moderators are engaged because a group has begun to feel a loss of focus, or an imbalance in member participation. As facilitators, these professionals can help you re-align your discussions and get back on the track to stimulating and engaging participation.


Would you like to find a moderator for your book group? Click here.


Would you like to become a moderator? Click here.

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