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.”
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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.