Blind dating at the library

SOMETIMES, blind dates work out. Sometimes, they don’t.

If anyone is feeling adventuresome, however, there’s an opportunity for mystery or romance as a result of a blind date, providing that individual goes to the Martins Ferry Public Library.

These special “blind dates” will be available through March. Each of them includes a bit of mystery but not necessarily romance.

The library’s offerings aren’t the usual kind of a blind date, but consist of a special area of books wrapped in paper and available for sale. It’ll also be what could be considered as a “cheap date,” because the hardback books are 50 cents and paperbacks are three for 50 cents.

No inkling is given about what book’s title or the author, but the spine of each book denotes what type it is, such as a thriller, romance, mystery, western, biographical, inspirational or political.

“There’s a little bit of everything,” said Julie Kloss, circulation manager. She and Kelly McAninch, library assistant, are handling the project.

Actually, the blind date books became available as part of “Library Lovers Month,” which is observed during February, but it was decided to continue their availability a little longer.

“We’ll extend it through March,” said Yvonne Myers, library director. “It’s going so well, we decided to continue it another month. We sell books all the time, and this is a different way to do it.

“Julie and Kelly got the idea for the blind date event at a library workshop,” the director added.”I think it’s a great idea.”

In addition to being fun, it’s a bright note – literally and figuratively – during wintry days as some of the books are wrapped in colorful gift paper. Others assume a somber tone in brown paper.

Although most Eastern Ohio libraries didn’t have blind date books during February, the St. Clairsville Public Library had a different kind of arrangement for these books, according to Robyn Vittek, director.

Amanda Gossett, library program coordinator, and Emily Kessler, circulation manager, were in charge of the project held during February.

In St. Clairsville, the books weren’t available for sale, but were checked out by library patrons. Contained in brown bags decorated with hearts for Valentine’s Day, the books were designated for adults, teens and children. The book titles were hidden, and no subjects were listed.

“We were surprised how many people were interested in it,” Gossett said.

After reading the book from the St. Clairsville library, the individual had an opportunity to “Rate Your Date,” telling whether or not the reader liked the book. A drawing containing the readers’ comments will be held next week with the winner receiving a gift certificate to Panera Bread, according to Gossett.

In Martins Ferry, a sign atop the blind date book shelves is headed “Blind Date With a Book,” and people are encouraged to “Collect A Book and Discover a New Author or Go Home With an Old Friend.”

Either way, it might be interesting.

Pokas can be reached at bettypokas@yahoo.com.