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Library Offers 'Blind Date' with Books

The Alameda Free Library took a novel approach to celebrating Valentine's Day – inviting readers to take home gift-wrapped books (chosen and covered in Valentine-themed wrapping by the library) without knowing what they are.

Visitors to the main floor of the Alameda Free Library may have noticed a surprising recent addition to the main floor.

On a small draped small table was a display of books wrapped like gifts in paper and decorated with hearts.

A sign said, "Spice Up Your Reading Life!"

"Take a library book on a blind date!" said the sign, which was decorated with red hearts.

The special offering, which went up Feb. 4 as a way to celebrate Valentine's Day, was a first for the library, said supervising librarian Cosette Ratliff.

"We actually saw another library doing it, and we thought it was a great idea," she said. "It just seemed like a lot of fun."

"We've actually had a number of people who've been brave enough to take home a blind date."

In an interview Thursday, Valentine's Day, she said she didn't have an exact count but estimated at least half of the 80 books that had been wrapped had been checked out.

Books were eligible if they had any broad connection to romance. At a request from Patch, library front desk employee Ken Yuen scanned three of the wrapped books selected at random. They were:

  • A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
  • The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
  • The Boys from Brazil by Ira Levin

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