Love was in the air in February at College Library. Not only was a new display installed in Open Book that featured a “Blind Date with a Book,” but a valentine-making station was available the weekend of the holiday. Visitors were encourage to make a valentine to share with their true love or to hang one in the library to show their affection for the place.
The idea for the book display was suggested by a student assistant at College Library, Syaza Noor Azmi. The display enticed library patrons to go on a “blind date” with a book, Since each book is wrapped in order to hide the author and title, readers had to trust the brief description provided and take a leap of faith when selecting a book. Inspired by similar displays at other libraries, Syaza thought one geared specifically toward undergrads would be a great way to get people to try out reading new genres. Installing it around Valentine’s Day would be perfect, because, as she said, “a blind date with a new book does seem romantic.” Taking this idea and implementing it fell to Nong Thao, an ISIP intern who is working with the Open Book Collection this semester. Nong designed the poster, selected the first fifteen books for the display, and wrapped the titles in brown craft paper to preserve their anonymity.
Response to the display was immediately positive. As Danielle noted on Twitter, “What a great idea! I hope this #BlindDateWithABook will get more people reading for fun! Love it.” Sophia actually took home one of the books and reported back, “Reading Road to Perdition and loving it! <3.” The hardest part about the display was keeping up with demand, according to staff. The display was so popular that in the two weeks it was available, it had to be restocked it twice.
Given the popularity of both the display and the Valentine-making station, College Library plans to revisit the concepts again next year.