Library offers Blind Date with a Book

Are you tired of disappointment? Do you long for a little bit of adventure in your life? Has it been awhile since you had a good read? In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Willey Library is offering its second annual “Blind Date with a Book” program.

Just inside the library’s entrance sits a cart that the library staff will be keeping fully stocked with potential dates for adventurous readers. The books are wrapped in brown paper and labeled with three descriptive terms, which give anyone browsing the cart a vague idea of what the books might contain within their unseen pages.

Jeff Angione, circulation coordinator at the library, says that the program is best for those who have an open mind about reading: “There are thousands of books in the library, and if you’re a reader, sometimes you can get stuck in a rut. Maybe this helps you find something that you wouldn’t normally read.”

Hunter Mallette, a JSC sophomore, participated in the program last year and says that it was a great way for her to get the pleasure of finding a new book without needing to spend time looking through the library’s aisles.

“It was a very smart and cutesy idea,” says Mallette, “and the library did a good job of intriguing students by putting the qualities of the book out in the open but also leaving it to be a mystery.”
If you decide to take a chance and check out one of these tantalizingly mysterious tomes, you’ll be given a “Rate Your Date” slip. This allows readers to give feedback on their experience, whether they hated the book, liked the book, or thought the book might be better set up with a friend.

“This is my second year working at the library when Blind Date with a Book has occurred and I’ve heard mixed reviews from those who have checked out the books,” says Brie Carleton, a student employee at the library. “I’ve had some people come up to me, animated at having found their newest favorite book, and others say they didn’t really care for the book they chose.”

The program is meant as a way for people to try new things and explore the unknown, so it’s expected that not everyone will love the book they end up with, but that’s part of the appeal.
“[It’s] the mystery,” says Angione, responding to a question about why the program might attract students. “The mystery and intrigue of possibly finding something cool.”

Carleton sees the event as a way to connect with the community. “Having this event in the library is a great chance to reach out to other readers,” she says. “Each of the books was chosen by someone, so it’s sort of a way in which those who chose books can share their favorite reads.”
Angione considers last year’s Blind Date program to have been a success, estimating that close to 30 books were checked out through the program.

The program will run until April, so if you’re looking for a good time, head to the library for a chance to find your literary true love.