My first thought is that 19+ people is just too large to have a productive book discussion at all. There's just no way to manage that. The problem is that I assume, at this point, you don't really have a idea of how many of the 19+ are showing a fleeting interest in this organizational meeting (my experience is that a number of people will fit in this group) and how many will be committed member who come each month. If it turns out there is a large dedicated group, I think you're right to consider two groups.
If you don't want to split the group, you might be able to split internally. For example, have several tables of 6-8 people. That way, the group is intact and people get to know each other (since the small groups will be different each week) but there can be discussions.
If you decide to split into two groups entirely, you may find that there's a natural split among the people who want more socializing and those who want more devoted book discussion or other preferences, or that it breaks down nicely by geography.
My preferences on those things are: 1) Devoted book discussion (though I think the occasional social event could be nice); 2) I'm coming from Lexington, but I don't really care where we meet as long as there is sufficient parking (I'm a little wary of member's homes at least while I'm new to the group); 3) I don't really have a preference on type of restaurant, but more expensive restaurants are probably not in my budget on a monthly basis right now. Ocasionally, that would be fine.
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 4:08 PM, Patty Russell <[address removed]>
Just in the past couple of days, I've had a lot of people wanting to attend our meeting tomorrow night. Because of the size of the room, we are unable to take more, and I'm very sad about this.
One thing that must be considered at the meeting tomorrow night is whether we should have more than one group, and I am eager to hear your thoughts about that. There are those who prefer a group more focused on book discussions (and I fall into that group), and there are those whose interests are for more social activity. There are those who don't want to travel far, and those who don't mind a 30-minute drive. There are those who want to visit the better restaurants, and there are those who don't mind simpler fare or potluck at members' homes. So, it may be worthwhile considering other options.
Please let your thoughts be known.
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