Book Programs with a Twist

blind date with a book display

Book displays are ways for libraries to highlight certain books in their collections, and they’re usually centered around a theme. For instance, a display can be focused on a holiday or an event or even a color. In March, I plan to gather up books with green covers and set up a display to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Last month, I set up a children’s Chinese New Year display featuring informational and picture books about this holiday. I also included a few props to somewhat capture the flavor and festiveness of Chinese New Year. It’s a great way to increase cultural awareness and increase the circulation of  books that may not normally get much attention. It was a resounding success–the books were all checked out (including the backups) a week before the lunar new year even began.

For Valentine’s Day this year, I took the plunge and set up a book display that I had seen on various library Pinterest boards: Blind Date with a Book. I wrapped several books in craft paper so patrons are for all intents and purposes blindly checking out books–except for a clue or two hinted on the front. Each wrapped book included a slip where patrons can “rate their date.” This is a great (and fun!) way for patrons to try out a book they may not otherwise pick up.


Rate Your Date form adapted from one by Furman University Libraries

Since we didn’t have a barcode label maker, I simply wrote the barcode number on the back of each book. I love programs like this where both the librarian and the patrons take risks. The librarian isn’t sure how patrons will respond to an out-of-the-ordinary book display and the patrons aren’t sure what kinds of books they’re getting. Hopefully, both will be pleasantly surprised!