Blind Date with a Book --or--Speed Dating for Books

There are many different ways to share books with teens. 
  • Book Shopping: he spreadsheet is from Christopher Rios--thanks!
  •  I set up tables so that each spot has a book (mix of old and new), a pencil, and a slip with some lines on it that I made to go with our Summer Reading Theme. I tell the teens to pick a seat and explain that finding the right book is like finding the right person. There is a book for everyone, but life is too short to read books you don't like. I set a timer for three minutes and tell them to look at the book, read the blurb, start reading if they want. At the end of the three minutes I have them write down the title if it's a book they'd like to "see more of" and if not that's okay. Everyone then passes the book to their right and we set the timer again. After a couple rounds of this I do a break and booktalk a few titles. I have some trailers to show too but so far it hasn't really fit. Hopefully after about 45 minutes or so each person has at least a couple of books they'd like to get to know better. It's gone well at two branches so far and I'm scheduled to do it at a few more during the summer. So far the big hits were The Enemy by Higson and After by Efaw on the table and Shattering Glass by Giles and Heist Society by Carter that I've been booktalking.
    Beth Saxton
    Cleveland Public Library
  • Hot or Not: This activity is to encourage circulation for books that have low circulation rates. Identify books in your collection with no or few checkouts. We use our Follett automation software to print a list of books that have never circulated. Some will be oldies, but others might be brand new copies. Put those books on a “Rescued Reads” cart or label them with little colored dots on their spines. Promote the project to all students or to a particular class. Readers—students and teachers—read the books then write a short review and rate the book "Hot or Not." I tell the students I will use their reviews to help me decide whether or not to keep the books in the media center's collection. We have also tried using a blog for student reviews so that they are available to all.
    Presented by Marcia Kochel, Olson Middle School and Mary Childs, Valley View Middle School, Bloomington, ISD 271
  • Speed Dating:  This activity has been used in our student book club and also in 6th and 7th grade reading classes. The objective is to expose students to a variety of books so that they might find a book they would like to "get to know better."
    The teacher or librarian gathers the books ahead of time. (We usually do a mix of fiction and nonfiction, but teachers sometimes do it with just one genre or just nonfiction books.) Students select their first book for their first "date." A timer is set for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off everyone fills out their Speed Dating form and passes their books to someone else. (Vary this each time—pass them 3 to the left or 4 to the right, etc.). At the end of the session students can share with the class if they have "fallen in love" with any of the books.

    Presented by Marcia Kochel, Olson Middle School and Mary Childs, Valley View Middle School, Bloomington, ISD 271
  • Blind Date:  A "blind date" is a date between two people who have not previously met. Usually you will get set up by a friend who knows the person. For this activity I had students pick up their favorite book they read that year to "set up" a friend with. For 3-5 minutes they try to convince their friend to "check out" their suggestion. Then they switch and their friend tries to set them up with their favorite.  Heather Gruenthal, AUHSD

    Robin B of suggested these descriptions for the books:


    Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

    • Looking for a way home
    • Speaks seven languages
    • Fences with both words and sword
    • May fly off the handle but wants to do what’s right

    Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

    • Keeps a low profile
    • Recovering from abusive childhood
    • Wants to help others heal
    • Hobbies include code-breaking and exploring the city at night

    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

    • Must not mind long silences
    • Writing letters a must
    • Never been one of the guys
    • Family is very important
    • Willing to drink hospital coffee

    Raven Boys  by Maggie Stiefvater

    • Kiss at your own peril
    • Be open to believing in ghosts
    • Must have an interest in Welsh history
    • Can’t be jealous of friends

    I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

    • Not at all squeamish
    • Loves a crime scene
    • Not always good at expressing my feelings
    • Worried I’ll end up like my father
    • Good in tense situations

    Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen, Art by Faith Erin Hicks
    (this one is online at out in print in April)

    • Just trying to make it through my parent’s divorce
    • Cliques don’t matter to me
    • Friends come first
    • An enemy of my enemy is my friend
    • Any robot is a good robot

    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

    • Seeking a best friend
    • Values loyalty and the roar of a good engine
    • Loves a manicure and a nice warm sweater
    • Understands the truth isn’t always what it seems


    These are all adult books, but a number could work for teens, and we'll be compiling more as we have to fill the display. 

    We created categories to give people an idea of what they might be getting -- mood and style of the book more than genre.

    In the Mood for Love

    Persuasion by A. S. Byatt

    • Poetry makes my soul sing
    • Digging in the library stacks is not only my work, but reveals amazing secrets
    • Believes the recorded history never really tells the whole story

    The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

    • Dutiful companion needs a little adventure in her life
    • Rakish highwayman needs to remember his past
    • (Fussy) Dowager Duchess needs an heir 

    Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann

    • High heels & short skirts hide more than they reveal
    • Actions speak louder than words
    • The show must go on
    • Save me Navy Seal!

    Edge of Your Seat

    The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan

    • Figuring out how to make a life on the run
    • Am suspicious of new chums, but you might be just the help I need
    • Must be good with ciphers
    • Awareness of international politics a must

    Laugh Out Loud

    Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

    • Must have an iron stomach. Being weightless may feel delightful, but the side effects…
    • Great at folding origami cranes
    • Prepared for long periods alone
    • Curious about what’s beyond our little blue dot

    Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

    • Being a postman has proven to be unexpectedly rewarding
    • Knows the value of a hand-written letter
    • Hoping to convince a certain activist lady to give me a chance (or two)
    • Despises liars and cheats (takes one to know one)

    Melodrama of Manners

    The Pilgrim Hawk by Glenway Wescott

    • Drops by unannounced
    • Enjoys birding
    • Holds one's tongue in mixed company, more or less
    • Believes it's never too early in the day for a stiff drink

    Austenland by Shannon Hale

    • Aspires to the wit and insight of Jane Austen
    • Looking for my own Mr. Darcy
    • Excited to dress up for any occasion
    • Getting a little bit desperate

    Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

    • Has meddlesome neighbors, but loves them anyway
    • Trying to make it on my own
    • Looking toward the future, even if everyone around me is dragging their feet

    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

    • A widower looking for a second chance, perhaps friendship, perhaps more
    • Known for a stiff upper lip
    • Looking for a break from the ordinary

    Ready for Adventure

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

    • Geek is not an insult, but a compliment
    • Encyclopedic knowledge of 80s video games
    • Definitely a homebody, but willing to venture out for a challenging quest
    • Learning the difference between the online world and the real world can kill you

    Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

    • Brilliant with computers, but not as smooth with the ladies
    • Trying to find my place in my city
    • The Qurʼan didn’t quite prepare me for dealing with actual djinn

    Eragon by Christopher Paolini

    • Have destiny, will travel
    • Seeking traveling companions to tell stories and give sage advice
    • Wisely refused to trade shiny blue stone for food

    A Dose of Witty Banter

    Soulless by Gail Carriger

    • Appreciates the many uses of a sturdy parasol, from rain cover to as a weapon
    • Fallen in to the company of werewolves and vampires, who can be so tiresome
    • When my Queen calls, I answer

    The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

    • Thrives on cocktails and solving crimes
    • Believes marriage to the right woman should knock your socks off
    • Never met a speakeasy (or a dame) I didn’t like
    • Loves dogs

    Bellwether by Connie Willis

    • Convinced that corporate retreats are the worst kind of punishment
    • Studies fads for a living from mini-golf to hot pants
    • On the lookout for a trend-setter
    • Needs a witty partner for snide commentary

    The Game is Afoot

    The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

    • An expert at identifying antique books
    • Too many femme fatales in my past
    • Loves classic tales of adventure
    • Doesn’t mind the macabre unless it’s too real

    The Mary Russell series by Laurie King

    • Seeking a keen intellect with a flair for logic
    • Hobbies include beekeeping, criminology, and identifying types of cigarette ash
    • Demanding by nature, but loyal to a fault
    • Looking to travel, meet people from all walks of life

    The Benson Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine

    • Known for my immense intellect
    • I already know who did it, but the fun is whether anyone else can figure it out
    • Adores fencing, golfing, fine art, and unmasking a suspect on my own terms

    The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison

    • A Tibetan prison filled with Buddhist monks is the last place I expected to be
    • Clinging to one last chance to prove myself
    • Knows that the truth, and faith, can sometimes hurt you even as it saves you

    Have Pith Helmet, Will Travel

    The Allan Quartermain series by H. Rider Haggard

    • Big game hunting is the only occupation for a man such as myself
    • Am a night owl by nature
    • Hates the cold and damp, loves open spaces and hot weather

    The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

    • History fascinates me. Instead of reading about it, I visit the past to see it in action
    • Am a capable nurse
    • Tries to find hope even in the darkest times

    The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

    • Lonely and seeking comfort
    • Sometimes the enemy is not the enemy
    • Good at sneaking around
    • Talented at making do

    Curiouser and Curiouser

    Blue Dog Speaks by George Rodrigue

    • Must love dogs
    • Favorite color: blue.
    • Sense of humor a must!

    At Home by Bill Bryson

    • Loves to stay cozy by a warm fire and consider the history in these walls
    • Leaps from topic to topic but always comes back to my main theme
    • Can tell you how spices led to more bloodshed than can be believed

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

    • My life may be fated to be brief, but my influence will extend far beyond my death
    • Looking to reclaim my forgotten name and lost legacy
    • Have learned to be wary of doctors and scientists


More ideas at "Read If You Like."

Beth D K,
Jul 3, 2013, 10:43 AM
Beth D K,
Jul 3, 2013, 10:43 AM
Beth D K,
Jul 3, 2013, 10:44 AM
Beth D K,
Jun 12, 2010, 9:13 AM
Beth D K,
Jul 3, 2013, 10:46 AM
Beth D K,
Jun 11, 2010, 9:27 AM
Beth D K,
Jun 12, 2010, 9:09 AM
Beth D K,
Jun 12, 2010, 9:10 AM
Beth D K,
Jul 3, 2013, 10:52 AM