Midtown Raleigh News

Wake County librarians play matchmaker in Blind Date with a Book program

Cheryl Adams of Cary checks out a possible book choice from librarian Emma Miskey through the Blind Date with a Book program at the West Regional Library on Tuesday.
Cheryl Adams of Cary checks out a possible book choice from librarian Emma Miskey through the Blind Date with a Book program at the West Regional Library on Tuesday. sbarr@newsobserver.com

Wake County librarians are playing matchmaker this Valentine’s Day season, with a program designed to introduce adult readers to books they may never have considered picking up.

In the Blind Date with a Book program, books are gift-wrapped and their titles kept secret. Each bares a brief description designed to catch a reader’s eye.

“Unbroken,” the nonfiction story of Louis Zamperini, a track star who survived a plane crash in the Pacific during World War II and spent years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, might be labeled: “WWII, prisoners of war, nonfiction.”

A Nicholas Sparks novel might get the heading: “Romance in North Carolina.”

Katrina Vernon, adult services manager for Wake libraries, said the system has put up similar book displays before. This year, though, librarians are front and center, talking about what book a reader might want to give a chance.

“We hope that they’ll come out and meet some of our friendly librarians,” Vernon said.

At the West Regional Library on Tuesday, librarian Emma Miskey stood next to a table stacked with books wrapped in red and white with heart-shaped labels on their front.

“Are you feeling adventurous?” she called out to readers.

That got their attention. Those who ventured to the table – more than two dozen in an hour – could choose from titles such as a “Nail-biting Horror Story,” “Thought-Provoking Fiction with Issues” and “Humorous Southern Romance.”

Jagu Rajpara of Cary browsed the selections with her daughter Niva, 8, before choosing a “Suspenseful Art Mystery.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “It gives a reader a challenge.”

Rajpara said the program took away the pressure of deciphering whether she would enjoy a particular book.

Miskey said the program was another chance to interact with readers in a fun way.

“It’s just nice to be able to talk to people and get them excited about books,” she said.

Cheryl Adams of Cary stopped by the table after a call from Miskey.

She browsed the table, then picked a “Humorous Southern Romance,” hoping it would hit the right notes for the holiday.

“Funny and sweet for Valentine’s Day,” she said.

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