Residents invited to go on a blind date with a book at the Mt. Laurel Library

BookDate

A blind date doesn’t have to involve dinner and a movie. It doesn’t even have to involve a meeting between two strangers.

A blind date could be as simple as sitting down with a book at home on a cold winter’s night.

The Mt. Laurel Library is inviting library members to participate in its Blind Date with a Book program this month. A display of gift-wrapped library books is on display near the library’s teen section. Library members are invited to choose one of these gift-wrapped books to check out. Outside of a few clues on the cover, patrons don’t know what book they are picking up.

The library’s Teen Advisory Board helped put together this event. Earlier in February, board members went around the library and picked out some of their favorite books in hopes of sharing them with other patrons.

After choosing the books, the teens giftwrapped them and wrote clues on what they might be.

Samantha Marker, the head of youth services at the library, said she got the idea for Blind Date with a Book from a couple other area libraries. However, she said those libraries usually have the staff pick the books out. For Mt. Laurel’s program, she let the teens take control.

“I really left it pretty self-directed,” Marker said. “The only real instruction they had was to give enough information to hint at what the book may be.”

This is the second time the Teen Advisory Board has done Blind Date with a Book, though this is the first time the program is coinciding with Valentine’s Day. As a result, the teens wrote the descriptions similar to a dating profile, with the clues provided in the middle of a giant heart.

The library has done Blind Date with a Book before with adults. The library used books donated from Friends of Mt. Laurel Library. This time, the library elected to use selections from its own collection.

The program itself is directed toward teens, however anyone with a library card is invited to check out a blind date book.

“It doesn’t have to be a teen,” Marker said. “There’s plenty of adults that like young adult fiction. Anyone with a library card is welcome to check the items out.”

Marker added there are books for every type of reader. From historical non-fiction to young adult novels, readers will likely find a perfect match.

“There is everything from biography to science fiction to even some teen self-help,” Marker said. “They really picked a wide-range of titles this year.”

Marker feels the teens have really embraced Blind Date with a Book and said participants have found themselves exploring books they may not have in the past.

“It’s really a worthwhile event for them,” she said.

Blind Date with a Book will continue at the library through the end of the month. Books remain on display at a stand to the left of the library’s café. For more information on the program, visit www.mtlaurel.lib.nj.us or call Marker at (856) 234–7319 ext. 335.