Thursday, February 9, 2012

Romance and the Library

Romance and the Library?  A Match made in Heaven...

            Do the dusty, quiet stacks of a library sound like a hot date spot?  I think so!  

Meet the new wave of events that has been slowly building into public libraries. It is speed-dating served with a side of literary love.  Vancouver Public Library is just one Canadian example.  A recent article in the Globe and Mail described VPL’s programs as “Read Dating.”  Interested participants rotate around the room with two vital components: a favourite book and a literary pseudonym (for instance, I might choose to be Jane Austen for the night).   The book is used as an icebreaker tool to ease individuals into conversation and to give them the opportunity to speak on a topic that they are familiar with.  The literary pseudonym is used for confidentiality to limit the pressure to reveal too much personal information during the night. 

             VPL has held two events so far and have planned two more in February surrounding Valentine’s Day.  The two previous events have been split between heterosexual 19-35 year olds and LGBTQ participants.  Having success with both events, VPL has realized that they are offering a safe and fun experience. Medicine Hat Public Library has coordinated similar speed-dating events but they have also included activities such as games and movies. 

                Why is this great idea? 

1.       Participants can arrive ready to discuss their true interests in reading.  By sharing their thoughts on a book, participants have a unique opportunity to create new reading lists, maybe try a genre that they otherwise might avoid, or even swap books in the process. 

2.       It has the possibility to change the community’s perception of the library. Planning events like this catered to Adults demonstrates a playful side of the library and innovative thinking in terms of events and programs.

3.       It’s all about networking and building relationships in the community.  For those newcomers to the city, it is a nice environment to meet others, even if a romantic relationship doesn’t necessarily follow.  Sometimes it’s just nice to discuss books!

To read the full Globe and Mail article, please visit here
VPL’s “Read Dating” programs can be found here:

“Love at the Library” at Medicine Hat Public Library can be found on their website:  

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