PBS Utah’s Book Club in a Box

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Book Club in a Box is a curated collection of resources and materials for book club hosts to facilitate an in-depth conversation on a film paired with a literary work and explore its relevance to the community. Each box is available to book club hosts at no cost on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Curated boxes available in 2019-2020 included:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Mark Haddon author)/On The Spectrum (Paige Keiter, Filmmaker, Producer) (KUED classic documentary)
The Invention of Wings/Martha Hughes Cannon (KUED classic documentary)
Cheyenne Again (Eve Bunting author)/Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools (John Howe Filmmaker, Producer) (KUED classic documentary)
Coming of Age in Mississippi (Anne Moody author)/ Utah Freedom Riders (Nancy Green, Filmmaker, Producer) (KUED classic documentary)
Dear Evan Hansen (Val Emmich author)/Hope Lives: Preventing Teen Suicide (Frank Feldman Filmmaker, Producer) (KUED classic documentary)

Contents of each box include the book, the DVD, discussion questions, author and filmmaker biographies, evaluation surveys, recipe ideas corresponding to the theme, information on service organizations relevant to the theme, PBS Utah SEVEN guides, station membership information, and instructions for continuing the conversation through social media.

PBS Utah utilized scholars to evaluate the themes and issues in the storytelling of both the film and literary work and craft discussion questions for book club hosts that would facilitate a meaningful exploration of different human experiences and perspectives. Project partners provided additional promotional reach, discounts on books, learning resources, hosted public book club discussions, and in some cases served as scholars.

This was a great project to reach a statewide audience without requiring a staff member to facilitate events. Because of Utah’s geographic barriers, it can be challenging to provide meaningful direct engagement touchpoints at a statewide level. This project brought our locally produced films to the homes of individuals throughout the state.

Tapping into the conversations of book clubs has been a key component to the success of this project and the station’s ability to extend the life of its locally produced films. Participants self-select the content they wish to discuss, which means they are (most likely) invested in the issues explored through the curated material.