It is possible to run a book club on a shoestring budget.  You will have to work with your collaborators and see what you agree on is important to provide to your book club participants.

A few budget items to think about:

  1. A copy of the book for each your participants
    • circa $10-$15/copy of book/participant
  2. Refreshments (Cookies? Chips? Candy? Something catered? Tea and coffee?)
    • Costs will vary, but it is possible to spend under $100 for a semester of non-perishable nibblies
  3. Movie tickets, if you are timing a book club around the release of a feature film
    • Costs will vary, but calculate $15/ticket/participant
  4. Speaker fees
    • In our experience, these can range from $250 per thirty minute skype call to $1000 for an hour of conversation. The range is large.
  5. Costs for promotional materials (printing, etc.)
  6. Costs for miscellany (book plates, etc.)

When you have examined possible budget items, create a budget request form for your department and/or to share with collaborators. You are welcome to borrow the following format:

Budget Request Form:
  1. Library staff involved in planning
  2. Frequency
  3. Date funding decision needed by
  4. Starting date or quarter/term
  5. Anticipated goal or outcome from proposed event/program
  6. Alignment with strategic plan
  7. Co-sponsorship with other campus unit or external partners (not required)

Sample Budget Worksheet

Description Library funds Co-sponsor funds Total funds

Book costs




Other costs (list)





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Book Clubs in Academic Libraries: A Case Study and Toolkit by Johanna Jacobsen Kiciman and Alaina C. Bull is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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