On the last day of the half-term, at lunchtime, 20 of us gathered in the Lower Library, ready to battle it out to the death. Then it was back at it again, desperately trying to win each person over in such a short space of time. When we had seen everyone elses books, it was voting time.
World Book Night is a national celebration of reading and books and takes place on 23 April every year. The night brings people from all backgrounds together for one reason — to inspire others to read more. As much as we love our author visits, we were wanting to try something different this year — and came up with Book Speed Dating!
Among them was Jeremiah Lee, a year-old software engineer who said he had not stepped foot in a public library in years. Lee, who wore a dark purple fleece and blue jeans for the occasion. Then the men rotated, book in tow, to the next woman. Later, librarians would tally scorecards and connect any two people who indicated mutual interest.
One of the most powerful things I can do for my students is work to promote reading for fun and helping students find books that they will enjoy. I feel like middle school is one of those key times in life where many students either take the path to become a life-long reader…or not. I always get great feedback from teachers and students with this activity…they love it!
It was one of the few speed dating events to be held in a British public library and so represents a useful case study for the sector. The aim was not primarily to encourage library membership or reading. Rather, the role of public libraries in combatting social isolation was focused upon.
I'm planning a blind date theme for February. I'm really excited about this event as I don't think the students have been part of anything like this! New and exciting!
The event is intended to draw young people into the library while providing an opportunity for them to meet other singles in the area. What happens next? I actually found the idea by Googling.
It was attended by around 30 people who enjoyed coffee and cake and the chance to meet and chat with new people, in the welcoming and familiar setting of a library. Overwhelmingly people told us they enjoyed it and said it was a good way to meet new people, and that they hope we organise similar events in the future. Quite a few people made comments about how they liked the idea it was in a library rather than a bar or club because they felt safe, and it was nice to meet people face to face rather than virtually.
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