Blind date with a book

Posted on March 14, 2019

By Jessica Ramey - Instruction & Research Librarian

With February officially behind us, we say good-bye to that infamous holiday of love--Valentine’s Day. This year the Libraries celebrated Valentine’s Day with an event universally known (among libraries anyway) as Blind Date with a Book.

In case you missed this super fun event, Blind Date with a Book works like this: books are disguised in festive paper with a few descriptive words or brief descriptions written on the cover, students/patrons then select a book based on those descriptions. After the book is checked out, students are free to unwrap the book and “meet” their date.

You may see the picture below and think, “no big deal.” All we did was wrap some books, right? Wrong! Actually, there is a lot of work that goes into creating a display like this and that work stretches across multiple departments and people.

The project started with a request for recommended titles. I am keenly aware that not everyone likes to read the same things, nor has the time to read all the things they like. I wanted to capitalize on our shared knowledge by asking everyone in the building for suggestions.

From there, Kristy and I pulled those recommendations and added a few of our own. Kristy’s selection of Zoo City was a winner, the jury is still out on my selection of The Life and Death of Sylvia Plath… In my defense, I’d just read a tweet about Ted Hughes and was feeling an urgent need to celebrate the woman behind a man of questionable moral character. I digress.

After the books were pulled, they went down to Laura, our Head of Systems & Discovery, for a new location label in the catalog. Laura knocked this step out in less than an hour!

With their new location code assigned, the books were ready to be wrapped. This was the most laborious part of the process. Think 50+ presents that all need to be wrapped and labeled in a two-hour window. Even Santa’s mall elves would find that intimidating. Luckily, nearly the entire Research department was available to help. We decided dividing and conquering was the best course of action.

Liz, Kristy, and I wrapped the books, while Alex, Candice, Mary, and Paul labeled them. By the end of the second hour, we were having so much fun that we continued adding decorative flourishes until every book had an embellishment of some kind.

Finally, Liz, Alex, Kristy, and I set the books out on the display shelf, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The event was a huge hit! All but one book went out.

So tell me, did you enjoy the event? What titles would you want to share with someone on Valentine’s Day? You can let me know by sending me an email at jmramey01@wm.edu