I spent all of last week working and working on bringing Blind Date with a Book to the library. I love how it turned out! This is just one of the many ways our library is celebrating National Library Week.
To make it work properly, I first collected books from YA and had Polly, my coworker who buys adult fiction for the library, pick adult books. We chose books with lots of great editorial reviews and good buzz that nonetheless seem to have fallen through the cracks at our library. In other words, awesome books that people around here need to discover! I also picked a few from some of my favorite writers that just deserve to be read, OFTEN.
Next I wrapped all of the books in brown paper. Because we're a library and these books have to be circulated, I photocopied the barcode of each book and attacked it to the back of the wrapping. And because we have to know where each book is, just in case, I numbered all the books and kept a log sheet of which number corresponded to which book. That way if someone demands Book X and insists Book X is on Shelf Y, we can actually find it for them, even though it's wrapped up and "hidden."
Being a librarian is complicated.
I also made up signs, and my student assistants and I cut out HUNDREDS of hearts to decorate the circulation desk, displays, and YA shelving.
I'm particularly pleased with how well the circulation desk turned out. And I learned to use my iPhone to take a panoramic picture, which is pretty awesome.
Each book has a few descriptive words or phrases on the wrapping, to help you figure out if it's the sort of book you want to get to know better.
When I researched Blind Date with a Book online, I had a lot of fun guessing what books the other librarians had chosen based on the keywords they wrote on the wrapping paper they used.
My space in YA is much more limited, so I had to confine the display to the side of one shelf and the top of another.
I really like how it all turned out. I have to admit, I'm proud of myself!
Before I wrapped the books, I tucked a little postcard in each one encouraging the reader to rate their date. I think, if I get any turned back in (you never can tell), I'll use them to make up another display of reader recommendations.