Literary Speed Dating at Public Libraries Offers Dimmed Lights, Rose Petals and a Book to Fall Back On If the Match is Not Made in Heaven

In an effort to expand their patron base, library staff across the country have begun to offer speed-dating services at the library by turning their rooms into romantic venues at night for the between-20-and 40-year-old set. The age group that grew up with the Internet tends to stay away from the stacks unless they have kids, according to librarians quoted in a  New York Times article. Events have been held at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, but also at the main library in Sacramento, CA,  Chattanooga, TN, Piscataway, N.J., Omaha, NE and Fort Collins, CO, where librarians strung white lights and scattered rose petals for two date nights last fall.

"Among the first of similar events in the United States took place at the Omaha Public Library Benson Branch, where Amy Mather, a librarian, and her colleague at the time, Manya Shorr, organized a “Hardbound to Heartbound” night in 2009, on Valentine’s Day. Some 65 people showed up" the Times reported.

Last spring the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a national consortium of public libraries, included literary speed dating on its list of suggested adult library programming. Since then, libraries across the country have been dimming the lights and playing matchmaker.