If you stop by the East High School's library this month, you might notice something different. A new display entices students and staff to go on a "blind date" with a book. We call this Blind Books. Each book is wrapped in shiny red paper to hide the author, title and cover of the book, and signs advertising the books urge passersby to "check me out!"
Several years ago, I found the idea for Blind Books through a website promoting book display ideas for school and public libraries. Needless to say, I fell in love with the idea. I make a great effort to choose books that would appeal to students and those who may not have seen many circulations with hope to give them a chance. The most challenging part is not wrapping the books or making sure the right barcode is on them, but actually coming up with a clever personal ad for the book that catches the interest of the reader yet doesn't give too much away. In past years, I have used the first sentence of the novel or jotted down words that describe the plot or characters. This year I used a quick blurb that served as a personal ad, as well as what genre that book likes to read, so students knew if it was a science fiction or romance novel. The idea is to challenge students to go outside their comfort zone, for they never know what they may discover.
Students who participate are asked to fill out a "rate your date" card. These cards create statistics that help collection development. Every student who reads a Blind Book novel and returns their rating card also receives a free beverage from our library café as thanks for reading. The hardest part is keeping up with demand. Every year, I think I wrap enough books to keep the display going for at least a couple of weeks, but students always prove me wrong. This year all 20 books I wrapped were checked out in the first week. I am currently writing 20 more ads for round two. Blind Books will run until the end of the month.
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