Blind Date with a Book (Part 2): Passive Programming

I have done Blind Date with a Book many ways (see my post here to learn more). But this year, I decided to take a different approach – passive programming. Due to the library being closed for renovations, I couldn’t welcome classes into the library until the last part of January. Due to welcoming classes, giving book tastings, and showing off the new space, I wasn’t able to do anything with a big flourish for the time leading up to Valentine’s Day, which is when I usually do Blind Date with a Book. 

The Set Up

I had my library helpers help me pick books that weren’t super popular because I wanted to get those books out there and let students give them a shot. The library workers helped me by wrapping the books in newspaper. Why newspaper and not pretty craft paper or wrapping paper? Because newspaper is cheap and I asked for staff to bring it in last year so I could have it – so it was FREE to me! And free is always good. (I think we, as teachers, spend so much of our own money on our spaces and our students that we need to save money where we can and this is a great place to do so). 

Prior to the students wrapping the books, I read the summaries of each book and also utilized GoodReads to help me come up with short phrases or one word about the book that would help sell it to a student. I put four entries on each. These entries were written on colored hearts that got stuck to the front of the books once they were wrapped. I spent $1.50 on these hearts from TeachersPayTeachers so that I would have exactly what I wanted and didn’t have to recreate the wheel (although you could easily do this on Canva or something similar). 

Blind Date with a Book Sign for Passive Programming

Reminder: Don’t forget to put the barcode information on the outside of the book! This year, I wrote the barcode number on the part of the heart that makes it look 3D. 

I made a sign on Canva that said: Blind Date with a Book Check out These Books if You Like Stories with the Listed Qualities. It was simple, sweet, and to the point. And it worked! 

The Outcome

The library workers and I wrapped and set up 30 books on a small display on top of our short bookcases and by Valentine’s Day all but two books had been checked out! This is probably the most books I’ve had checked out from a Blind Date with a Book display in all my years as a librarian. I contribute that to two things – classes came in right before Valentine’s Day and not making a big show about the display. I had small signage and let the students discover the area on their own. I didn’t point anything out, but as they roamed the new space, they found it on their own and were intrigued. 

Next year?

So what does that mean for next year? I think I’m going to go ahead and go back to my larger display, but schedule classes to come in during the weeks that lead up to Valentine’s Day to see if that is the factor that led to the success this year. If so, then I will continue to schedule classes during that time of year. If not, then I will go back to a smaller display. 

Now that you’ve heard how I did Blind Date with a Book this year – what will you try next year?