Book Club Express Frequently Asked Questions

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Making the most of the Book Club Express service



What is Book Club Express?


How does BCE work?

The BCE is a bag that contains ten paperback copies of a single title and is intended for use by book clubs or reading groups. Along with the books, each bag contains a list of discussion questions, discussion leader tips, and a sign out sheet to help keep track of the contents of the bag.  The bags are checked out for a six weeks, giving your book club time to distribute, read, discuss, collect, and return the bag on a monthly meeting cycle.


Who can borrow BCE bags?

Any library cardholder of Salinas Public Library, in good standing, may borrow a Book Club Express bag. To apply for a free library card, please visit any of our library locations.


How long can I check out a bag?

The bags are checked out for six weeks, giving your book club time to distribute, read, discuss, collect, and return the bag on a monthly meeting cycle. 


What titles are available?

We try to choose titles meeting the following criteria:

  • The book is interesting and/or provocative enough to prompt discussion and create dialogue among participants.
  • The book contains strong themes, complex characters, or interesting/unusual situations.
  • Characters face difficult decisions, often of a moral or ethical nature.

To view all of the titles that are offered, visit our title list in the library cataog.  We have several titles in Spanish and a number of Spanish/English bilingual bags. 


What formats are available?

BCE bags only contain print books. 

Many of the titles that are offered by BCE bags are also available in large type, audio book, or digital format. You may check the library’s catalog to request the title in a different format. However, copies requested may have shorter borrowing period.  


My book group is larger/smaller then ten people.

BCE bags must be checked out as a whole; individual contents cannot be checked out separately. 

If your group is larger then ten members, you may request additional copies as available through the library's catalog. please use your library’s online catalog to request additional copies of the title as needed. However, additional copies requested may have shorter borrowing period.  


Using the Service


How do I reserve a bag?

  1. Check the available bags at the Library catalog
  2. Place a hold request on the BCE bag that you want, to reserve it.

NOTE: You may only allowed to have one bag checked out at a time. We recommend having two members of the same book club to alternate reservations so that during the meeting you can have the bag with your current book along with another bag with your next month book.  


How do I pick up my reserved bag?

To pick up a bag, please visit the library branch you selected when requesting the bag. 


Can I renew a bag?

BCE bags may not be renewed.


How do I return a bag?

A bag must be returned in person with all of its content, including all copies of the book, at the same time.  Bags must be returned to a library staff member during open hours. They cannot be placed in the book drop. 


What if an item is lost, damaged, or not returned?

The person who checked out the bag is responsible for the bag and all of its contents.  Bags must be returned with all of its content. 

  • If a bag is missing content, you will be asked to keep the bag until the remaining item is found.
  • If the bag is returned late, your account may be assessed a daily late fee of $0.25/day.  
  • If your group loses or damages a book, you have two options: replace it with another copy of the book that is the same edition and in good condition or pay the replacement fee of $15/copy of book. 
  • If a bag is damaged and a replacement is required, replacement fee of $25 will be charged. 
  • If a bag and contents is lost, a replacement fee of $150 will be charged. 

Book Club Success


I want to start a book club. Can you help me?

Yes, we have some literature on book clubs and reading groups available. Please check this guide from American Libraries Association.


Can my group to meet at the library?

All Salinas Public Library locations have open public spaces where your book group may meet. Please call or visit your local branch to find out.

El Gabilan Library location also have few study rooms with capacity from 4 - 12 people. Please contact the library for room reservation information.


Can I suggest other titles for Book Club Express bag?

Yes, please contact us and let us know your ideas!