A good book can transport you — maybe even into a romantic relationship.
That’s the thinking behind a new Speed Dating at the Red Deer Public Library program for “singles seeking book mates.”
Two speed-dating sessions are being organized for single people in different age groups (20s and 30s, or 40s and 50s) in the library’s Snell Auditorium.
Participants need only be willing to chat about their favourite book to somebody of the opposite sex — for three minutes.
Then a bell will sound and it’s on to the next person for another three-minute chat.
Rachelle McComb, the library’s youth services assistant, believes this could be a wonderful way to meet somebody special. “Or if you don’t meet the love of your life, maybe you can find a really good friend.”
Other libraries, from New York to Vancouver, have been offering similar book-based, speed-dating sessions on the premise that a common interest in reading could lay a good foundation for a relationship.
Whether people like Moby Dick or Computers for Dummies, McComb hopes they can channel their enthusiasm for a book into a conversation with a new person.
“It’s a starting point. Depending on the kind of book you like, it can lead to a discussion about life.”
Being single herself, McComb knows many other unattached people who would like to meet a potential partner, but don’t know where to go, besides bars. “You can get involved in clubs,” she said, and realize only after registering that the only other participants are also all women — or all men.
She hopes this speed-dating program will offer a low-pressure alternative to a mixer.
If, by the end of a session, somebody expresses an interest in getting to know another person better, McComb said a library worker will discretely tuck a card with contact information into the person’s book.
Nobody will know until they leave the library whether they received a card or not, so there should be no embarrassment either way, she added.
Posters advertising the dates — Feb. 9 for people in their 20s and 30s, and Feb. 16 for those in their 40s and 50s (both sessions run from 7 to 8:30 p.m.) — are being put up around town, including in hockey arenas and other male hangouts to ensure participants of both sexes.
Since one library staff worker will be part of each session, McComb is planning to give it a go — although she isn’t sure whether to bring a book by Oscar Wilde, or one of the teen books she likes, such as Hunger Games.
Anyone interested in registering should call 403-342-9110 (or do it in person at the Level 2 service desk), and be prepared to put down a $20 deposit to guarantee attendance. It will be returned once participants show up for a speed-dating session with their favourite book.