I feel very festive today, as my desk is strewn with tape dispensers, scissors, gift tags, and rolls of wrapping paper. It’s “Unwrap a Read” time across the library system, and this morning I’ve been getting our branch’s display up and running.
The idea of “Unwrap a Read” is simple – it’s kind of like going on a blind date with a book. We wrap up some of our nicer, newer paperbacks in festive wrapping paper, then put a gift tag on them with a little clue that hints as to the content and genre of the book. Patrons check out the books using the self checkout machine, which can read the RFID tag through the wrapping paper. They then unwrap and read the book at home, and return it by the regular due date.
Mystery book displays are a great way of introducing patrons to new authors or titles that they might not otherwise consider checking out, and they look very pretty! Depending on the wrapping paper you use, “Unwrap a read” can be festive without being overtly “Christmas”, a nice touch in diverse communities where different holidays might be celebrated.
Our display is just for kids 7-12, though last year around Valentines day we did a “blind date with a book” display that had sections for kids, teens and adults, and included a little bookmark that patrons could use to “rate the date”, giving us feedback on the books.
Although we try to have clear and understandable signage, there are always patrons who don’t quite understand the nature of mystery book programs, and who merrily pick up a wrapped book and walk right out of the library, setting off all the gate alarms…