LitLunch

Work is more than just goals and deadlines – it’s about people

Build workplace morale with a little reading. Complete a sign-up form and share a book and good conversation with your co-workers today. It’s never too late to LitLunch! And you can do it virtually too!

2018 LitLunch image. Group of diverse people gathered discussing a book.

What is LitLunch?

LitLunch encourages Maryland businesses and other organizations that may not typically be involved with literature programs to start up a workplace book club. LitLunch was developed by the Maryland Center for the Book at Maryland Humanities. If your organization already has an established book club, we invite you to join us too! Complete a LitLunch sign-up form.

Who can participate?

Employees of any organization in Maryland can start a LitLunch book club.

How does LitLunch work? And why should my organization participate?

LitLunch is a one-day program that is quick and easy to organize. It can also be done virtually. Get the answers to all your questions with our FAQs:

  • How do we participate in LitLunch? (Hint: it's simple!)
    Participating in LitLunch requires just four simple steps:

    1. Choose your leader: Designate a staff member to lead the program or ask for a volunteer on staff to take the reins
    2. Set the date, time, and location for your discussion: Make sure your group has ample time to read the book before the discussion. Ask your colleagues to brown bag it or, better yet, treat them to lunch!
    3. Spread the word: Advertise the discussion and reach out to as many departments as possible – the more the merrier and the better the discussion
    4. The big day: ready, set, discuss! We recommend blocking off 60 – 90 minutes for this special discussion program.

  • Why should we start a book club at work?
    LitLunch is a low-cost endeavor that supports morale and builds familiarity among staff and teams. Studies have shown a positive correlation between increasing opportunities for employee interaction and improving performance, innovation, and creativity. Through our work, Maryland Humanities has found that reading and discussion programs also foster better understanding among coworkers and across departments or teams, leading to richer workplace relationships.
  • What book do we read for LitLunch?

    The 2021 One Maryland One Book selection: The Book of Delights: Essays by Ross Gay. One Maryland One Book is an annual Maryland Humanities program that brings thousands of Marylanders together through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book.

    The Book of Delights is a collection of lyrical essays. Gay wrote one essay per day over a tumultuous year and took the time to find “delights” in his everyday life. The essays range in topic from the beauties in nature to what it is to be a black man in America. Readers can look to Gay’s collection as a guide to finding their own daily “delights.”

    Once you start reading together, we think you’ll want to make LitLunch a regular offering at your organization. We hope you’ll join us in reading the One Maryland One Book selection each year and maybe even add a few picks of your own to your LitLunch reading list.

  • How do we host a virtual book club?

    In times of social distancing, it’s important to know how to host a virtual book club. You have our #1MD1BK title The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See as your first read. If you have your date and time of your meeting selected,  then all you need is a “place” to meet.

    You can use:
    1) Google Hangouts – You can make video and voice  calls up to ten people.

    2) Zoom  – With the free version you can chat up to 40 minutes.

    3) Skype – You can host a group of up to 50 people.

    4) Slack – Already used in work spaces, Slack allows video chatting for up to 15 people.

  • Can you help us organize our program?

    Yes! Just indicate on your sign-up form that you’d like a Maryland Humanities staff member to call you for a consultation. We’ll contact you, set up a meeting, and help you get started. We can even connect you with a local bookseller.

  • How do we sign up?

    There’s just one step! Complete the LitLunch registration form.

  • Can we give feedback?
    Absolutely! We’ll check in with you after your discussion program to get your comments, reactions, and anything else you’d like to share.
  • “One student who has been held back several years and suffers from emotional disorders spent several minutes asking One Maryland One Book [author Daniel James Brown] questions. He very patiently listened and answered each question. He then signed her book: ‘Write with your heart not your head.’ To watch this interaction was very touching.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “[One Maryland One Book taught me that] these types of book discussions that include diverse populations across the state open necessary dialogues to help solve problems. We need to have many more.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “[One Maryland One Book] taught me how much we need to talk and listen to one another.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “I completed the book club with 22 students, all of them on the JV football team – so not your stereotypical group of book club attendees. On the last day of our book club experience I asked students for some feedback and also asked if they would be interested in participating in another book club. Nearly all of them said that this was the first time they had ever participated in a book club, and a few said it was the first time they had actually read an entire book. I keep hearing back from them, too, [asking] ‘When is the next book club starting up?’. The discussions we had were powerful and meaningful–this was truly one of the most moving experiences I have had as an educator.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “The discussion of the [2015 One Maryland One] book could not have been better. Everyone had a particular part of the story that touched them. One of the newcomers was an experienced rower and gave us wonderful insight into the physical and spiritual aspects of the sport. It is the first time in my ten years with this group that everyone loved the book.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 participant
  • “One student in my book club who is in a wheelchair and has a lot of other persona/home issues, was the first to finish the book, and wheeled herself into the library more than once to ask me if I had finished the book because she wanted to talk about it. She was a huge contributor to the discussion.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “The book selections offer an opportunity to read a book that is informative and engaging. It enhances our view of the world and the individuals within it. We sincerely look forward to the OMOB selections and materials each year. It is a topic of excitement and discussion among students and staff. Truly and wonderfully.”

    ​One Maryland One Book teacher
  • “[One Maryland One Book] brings cross curricular teachers together to the library to read, discuss topics and social issues in the book. It’s a way for students to read good books without the pressure of an assignment.”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
  • “[One Maryland One Book is] excellent! I come to as many of the One Maryland One Book events and will continue to do so—always pleased!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “I distributed copies of the book and we engaged in an afterschool discussion which included students and staff. Everyone who participated was so engaged that our 45 minute planned discussion ended up stretching into an hour and a half!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “What a discussion! That what’s needed in every town, city, and every age group.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “[One Maryland One Book] is wonderful; enlightening, explorative, innovative, [and] educational.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 participant
  • “The impact of this particular book was probably stronger than any other Maryland One Book due to the connections we could make with real world events and police brutality in the headlines. Many groups were reading and discussing the book at our school: Student Equity Team, Drama Club, Faculty book club, sociology and English classes. It fostered important discussions about race relations.”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “My students have been removed from their home schools. Right away, they made comments about the diction of the text, how it seemed realistic to them and they pointed out words they would have changed. We talked about word choice, slang, etc. I had 2 instances where students were excited to see me because they had events similar to the book happen to them and they needed to tell someone. They want to know how to change things. […] These kids typically failed English class or were chronic non-attenders or were removed before they came here. They are excited about reading a book! Teacher librarian win!”

    One Maryland One Book 2016 teacher
  • “The school I am reporting on is designed as an alternative center for students who are not successful in the “regular” classrooms in our district. These students are challenged by a number of factors, including emotional problems, discipline issues, etc. This particular book was one that a number of students were able to relate to and engage with. As a consequence, students who do not normally read became active participants in both reading and discussing!”

    One Maryland One Book 2015 teacher
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Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational nonprofit organization that creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities.
Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4565
(410) 685-0095
(410) 685-0795 fax
info@mdhumanities.org
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