For Valentine’s Day, many libraries have the tradition of wrapping books in paper, writing a few hints about the content inside, and then encouraging patrons to check out a book without knowing what’s inside. In February, the Center for Teaching and Learning put their own spin on this “Blind Date with a Book” conceit, creating a safe and fun exchange befitting these unique times.
The CTL team kicked off the process by asking interested students to fill out a participation form, wherein they’d provide their reading interests. From there a list of 5-7 books was cultivated for each student, with that number thinned to remove any books the student may have already read. Once the book list was set, the CTL went about making individual book boxes for each student. These fun boxes, sealed with twine, wax, and a fairy stamp, included all sorts of fun goodies, from candy and stickers to bookmarks and hot chocolate. They also included an amusing nod to reading history, as each student received their own personalized “book curse plate” to ensure that their books remained theirs and theirs alone!
Initially assuming that the exercise would see 15-20 interested parties, the CTL team was floored to see forms from 75 different students across all grade levels. Enlivened by the response, the CTL team decided to personally hand-deliver each individual book box. Using proper safety protocols, Cielo, Alia, and Sarah used their patented faerie wings and wands to bring the gift of reading to our student community.
Read on for testimonials from our excited readers!
I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK OMG! Thank you for all the goodies. :) — Sarah Morrison ’23
I waited to respond to this until I finished my book (which is uh... maybe why I'm emailing this at 1:40 a.m., but it's a Friday night and I have nothing to do tomorrow so who cares). I want to thank you all for your kindness, generosity, and creativity in these deliveries. The book I received was one that I truly enjoyed, and I have heard nothing but joy and kind words from everyone I've talked to that also received a delivery. The stickers and candy added with the box made me grin from ear to ear, and the story with the bookplates (including the curse should someone steal my book) made me laugh out loud. The care you all put into each box was evident, and overall the experience truly made my week. Thank you for creating such a lovely gift. — Katie Russo ’24
I just finished my blind date with a book, (and thoroughly enjoyed it), and I wanted to thank all of you for the amazing idea! It was so fun to have that package delivered, and I don't know that I would have read “Giovanni's Room” without it being delivered to me. What an experience I would have missed out on! I really appreciate all of the things that you are doing to make virtual school better, and I'm so looking forward to annoying you all in the CTL once again. — Erin Goldenberg ’22
I just wanted to say thank you so, so, so much for the book! I think that the packaging was so well done. I’ve already read the first 4 chapters and absolutely love it! — Chloé Andrieux-Amadeï ’24
It was the absolute highlight of our Zoom school day to receive our packages of books! It was so kind of you guys to be so thoughtful and hand deliver them, they were so cute! Eli and I were waiting all week for them and were so happy to receive so much candy, stickers, and happiness all in one box! I applaud your craftsmanship of the costume Cielo, the wings and overall book fairy outfit got a 10/10 from Eli, my mom, and I. Thank you so much for offering such a fun book exchange, Eli and I definitely had a blast and can’t wait to start reading! I hope we can see you guys soon, Eli and I miss being in the CTL so much and hanging out with you guys. Have a lovely weekend, and thank you again for the best surprise ever! — Pia Brosmith ’22
Thank you so much for coming to my house to drop off the cute package! I love it and I'm so excited to try the book. Thanks again for coming, it made my day. — Malia Heenan ’26
I received my book package today and I just wanted to thank all of you. I was SO happy to receive this package. The book I got (“From Blood and Ash”) was actually the book I wanted the most! I also love all the stickers and snacks! — Naomi Daneshgar ’23
Hi! I just got my book! The packaging is so cute! Thank you so much! — Netanya Ravid ’21
The Blind Date with a Book program was such a great way to get students back into reading, especially during a time when most of us aren't going out to libraries or bookstores anymore. I was able to be introduced to a totally new book from a totally new author that perfectly aligned with my interests. — Nick Cohen ’21
I just received my package with the book and it is incredible! Thank you so much, for the book and all of the little goodies, it was so thoughtful and made my day! I cannot wait to start reading! — Daisy Harkin-Goodrich ’26
Thank you so much! The package was adorable and I’m so so excited to read the book you all have chosen for me! Thank you again :) — Cayla Kallman ’21
Thank you so much! I am obsessed with the packaging and the elegant red stamp, and I loved all of the added surprises inside! — Nico Silverman-Lloyd ’21