Second Date

Since February is ending, the time has come for me to take down my Blind Date with a Book display (or for a co-worker to ask "do you mind if we take it down for you?").

I've never done a display quite like this one, and it was a learning experience.  Not everyone liked the display idea, and that was to be expected.  Of course someone was going to find the idea silly, or corny, or whatever they felt.  But largely the patrons who expressed an opinion loved it.  First off I learned that nice, decorative wrapping jobs take longer than I expect.  Next time around I might do plain paper wrapping.  I am undecided if I want to stay with the short summary of the book or go to keywords, but keywords written in marker would work well on plain paper.  Either way, food for thought.

The first week and a half of the display the books largely remained untouched.  Then I was not at the library for various reasons from the 14th-18th and came back to find that all but 8 books had been taken out.  I was so happy.  Even better, my (the Reference) volunteer was in on the morning of the 19th and loved the task of wrapping and decorating books for me.  If it wasn't for her, I probably would have put out the new books wrapped with hearts drawn on in Sharpie.

//Note to self: I should ask my volunteer if I can refer to her as my library minion.  Awesome volunteers are awesome, and when I know them from outside the world of libraries my sense of humor may come into play.  A note for anyone who is going to library school: if you don't have any library experience on your resume go volunteer at one.  It gives you something to put on your resume and shows that you have reason to believe, beyond school room experience, that you want this as your occupation.  And now back to the original topic.

The biggest feedback I got on the display to integrate for future planning is related to format.  I went with normal print books, a mix of hardcover and paperback.  A specific demand was voiced for audio books and for large print.  I would have tried to work some of those in, particularly the audio books, had I learned this before I reloaded the display.  I need to think of how I would best incorporate the alternative formats.  A wrapped audio book would generally look and feel different than a book, but likely still worth the effort of the label flagging it as audio book.  Large print would require flagging as LP.  Audio and LP would in some ways make the display easier, in particular it would allow duplication of titles.  Ultimately it comes down to balance, do I duplicate titles across formats, if so, what percentage of the selection do I want in Audio and/or LP?  Or do I put out the titles in a opportunistic manner, avoiding duplication, but going for even distribution between formats.

I definitely got better at putting together the brief summaries the second time around.   The first set of books I pulled out some reviews I had written myself and others I edited bit-by-bit out of full text book teasers.  Most of these ended up with short paragraph blurbs.  Second time around they were still culled mostly from teaser text, but I started looking for the most encompassing statements.

Here's a few of the blurbs, any of them sound interesting?  Want to make a guess at what the book might have been?
  1. Hard times? Why not try bounty-hunting?
  2. For one year, they'd only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.  An enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.
  3. A clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.
  4. The lives of two women born centuries apart linked by a common destiny hidden in a labyrinth.
  5. A poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities.
  6. The magical, epic tale of an extraordinary man who arrives in New York in 1740 and remains... forever.
Just an example of the text used.  Looking at it again I can see where I could have tweaked things more.  Taken out some redundant wording, maybe made them more catchy.  My favorite blurb is #1, which is really in the type of voice I would have liked to have infused in more of the summaries.  Some of the books would have been easier for me to summarize had I read them, some it would not have made a difference.  Amusingly my favorite book is both one that I have read and one that would have likely ended up the same had I not read it.

It seems highly likely that I will do this again next year.  Next year's display will likely have the benefit of more planning, rather than this year where I came across the idea a week before it we would want it up.  Possibly the selections might even be themed, but we will get to brainstorming that closer to next February.

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