Each February, the library at Tulsa Community College holds an event called “Blind Date with a Book.” Similar to events run by public libraries, the concept is simple: fill out a survey, and you will get a book hand-picked for you!
Although this year’s event has already passed (the last day to pick up books was Feb. 22), Adam Brennan, reference and instruction librarian at the library at Metro Campus who sits on the committee that runs “Blind Date with a Book,” was kind enough to offer some inside information about the event and its history.
While the “Blind Date with a Book” event was created by Paula Settoon, TCC’s dean of libraries and knowledge management, it is coordinated and marketed by the aptly-named Library Marketing Committee. Brennan said, “The committee is made up of several librarians, a library director, and library circulation team leaders.”
The library uses a survey to identify a participant’s favorite books, genres, and what they do or do not want to see in a book. In this way, a book can be picked to tailor to the reader’s interests. How is this done? Not with an algorithm – through the power of librarians! Brennan said book selections are made by library staff engaging in some “old-fashioned reader’s advisory.” They also use library databases, book recommendation websites, and the Novelist Plus Database offered by the Tulsa City County Library if they are stumped on a particular reading recommendation for a participant.
The event is open to TCC faculty as well as students, and Brennan has even taken part in the event himself. He said, “I like to participate under an alias and see how well the librarians and staff select for me. “Brendan Maan,” my favorite anagram and alter ego, has shown up on our forms more than once!”
This year, the library has expanded the event to include audiobooks and e-books so readers have a variety of formats to select their choices.
Brennan added that over the 10 years that “Blind Date with a Book” has been running, “librarians have matched thousands of books to students, staff and faculty across the college.” He emphasized that “we [the librarians] truly love hosting this event.”
For more information about the TCC Library, you can visit its website here.