By Jon Jeffryes
For the third year the Libraries is hosting Blind Date With A Book, adding a dash of mystery to your next great literary romance. From February 7-14, participating libraries will have displays of paper-wrapped books available for check-out.
Participating libraries include:
- Bio-medical Library, Diehl Hall (East Bank)
- Magrath Library (St. Paul)
- Natural Resources Library (St. Paul)
- Veterinary Medical Library (St. Paul)
- Walter Library (East Bank)
- Wilson Library (West Bank)
All of these libraries pull books from their own subject areas. Choose a new library to visit — you never know where you may find true love!
Short intriguing hints
Each of the books includes a short intriguing hint to help guide your connection, but the true identity of your match won’t be revealed until after checkout when you unwrap your book.
Drawing on their knowledge of the Libraries’ extensive collection, program planners curate a selection of books that will appeal to a wide and diverse group of readers. Readers can choose books for everyone from “fans of Rizzo in Grease” (How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran) to “a fan of snail mail, second-hand bookstores, and transatlantic friendship” (84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff) to “fans of China and alien invasions” (The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu).
Books range from best sellers and literary prize winners to more unexpected date material — like scholarly texts with a romantic theme. A recent favorite was Bestiaire D’amour: Love and Courtship Among Animals by biologist Jean Rostand checked out at the Bio-Medical Library.
Fun, frivolity, and serendipity
The event’s main purpose is to infuse a bit of fun, frivolity, and serendipity into the busy daily workflows of students, faculty, and staff. Planners hope it inspires participants to make time for recreational reading and all its benefits as well as showcase the diversity of the Libraries’ collections. They also hope to spark literary love in unexpected places.
“My hope is that someone will end up with a book they might never have picked up before,” says Kaia Sievert, one of the event’s planners at Wilson Library.
Sievert staffs the desk in Wilson Library and has seen firsthand the happiness that the display brings to students.
“People often get excited enough to say things out loud — perhaps calling out to a friend or discussing what a book might be.” Sievert said “Some people take a long time considering the display — carefully weighing which book they will choose.”
Book Matchmaking all year long!
Along with this week-long event, the Libraries provides “Book Matchmaking” services throughout the year. You can simply fill out a short online matchmaking form and a librarian will send you a customized book suggestions within a few days. This service has already made 540 successful connections since the service started in February 2015.
If you find true love with your book share your story by posting a selfie with your book and #bookdate on Twitter or Instagram and share it with us by tagging @umnlib.