A few books waiting to be selected during “Blind Date With a Book” (KRBD staff photo by Maria Dudzak).

Even if you already have plans for Valentine’s Day, you can take a chance with a blind date at the Ketchikan Public Library on February 14th. 

“One crazy night, one crazy girl, prom night wasn’t supposed to end in blood. If you’re going to join me, you’d better be prepared for anything, including violence and mayhem. So, are you game?”

That’s librarian Lisa Pearson reading one of the descriptions meant to intrigue readers during “Blind Date With a Book.” Selections are made with participants knowing little about the book.

“And (we) give people a chance to read outside their normal comfort zone, because people, including myself, have a tendency to get into a reading habit. So you always go for the mysteries or you always go for the romance or whatever. We wanted to give people the opportunity to take a chance on something they might not ordinarily pick up off the shelf.”

Books, wrapped in non-descript brown paper will be spread out on tables in the large meeting room that evening. The only clue when making a selection is a short teaser written on a heart attached to the front of the book.

“Somehow I combine love, morality, war and mystery. I’m the whole package.”

She says more than 60 books will be available.  Though held on Valentine’s Day, Pearson says these are not romance novels, and there are selections for men and women.

“They’re westerns, they’re historical novels, they’re science fiction, they’re literary. So you’re not just coming in and picking up romance novels. There’s just a wide range of books there.

She says there will also be a table set up with books specifically for teens and young adults.

If concerned about language or violence, Pearson says that will be evident in the teaser. If concerned about content, she says she’ll be available to steer readers in the right direction.

“Because I don’t want anyone to bring home a book that they would find offensive. You might well bring home a book you don’t like, and that’s perfectly okay, because sometimes blind dates end that way. But we would like everybody to have a chance at this.”

To give everybody a chance, they are asking that readers only take one book, though Pearson says a “double date” is possible if someone is truly unable to choose between two books. She says participants are not allowed to unwrap their book at the library.

“It stays wrapped. I’ve got the bar code number written on the back, I will type it in and hand you your book and your “Rate the Date” card, and you take it home and unwrap it when you get home and find out what you have picked.”

Readers are asked to turn in their rating cards by March 3rd to be entered into a drawing.  The cards will be posted at the library to help other readers select books.

“There’s a rating scale – disastrous; forgettable and dull; okay; better than I expected; incredible, I’m in love with this book – but there are also some comment areas, and recommendations for the next one. So if there’s a title out there that you think would be just fabulous for this event, you can tell us and we’ll incorporate that next year.”

Through this blind date, Pearson says she hopes readers will take a chance and expose themselves to a genre they normally wouldn’t select.

“Perhaps you really hate science fiction, and you just haven’t met the right science fiction novel yet.”

Pearson says bookstores and libraries have been holding “Blind Date With a Book” events for years, but this is the first year for the Ketchikan Public Library. She says if successful, they plan to hold it annually.

“Blind Date With a Book” is from 4 – 6 p.m. this Wednesday, February 14th, at the Ketchikan Public Library.  On Prince of Wales Island, the Craig Public Library offers blind dates with books the entire month of February.