If your library hasn’t tried a “Blind Date with a Book” display yet, put it on your radar for next year. With a bit of planning and organization it’s a great way to inject a bit of whimsy into your displays.
The New Westminster Public Library has run a Blind Date with a Book for a few years now, and it’s great to hear patrons get enthusiastic when they see the display go up again. We make sure we have signage that tells the public what to do (the first year a few people thought we were giving out presents and wanted to keep the books!) and use distinctive wrapping paper that catches the eye. We don’t limit ourselves to books – DVDs, audiobooks, and CDs have all made it in at one time or another.
We write brief descriptions of the book and print them on labels that we stick to the front, and photocopy the barcode and attach this too, so the surprise isn’t ruined by having to unwrap the book at checkout.
Once the display is up, we schedule social media posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and enjoy filling up the displays and getting feedback. Admittedly people don’t always like their blind date book, but taking a chance is part of the fun! This is a great way to get people to read out of their comfort zone. Staff across the library also enjoy having input as to what gets recommended, and everyone loves the challenge of writing a brief teaser description for the materials on display.
How does your library run a blind date with a book display? What clever ways have you found to entice readers to pick up something unfamiliar?