Speed dating gives way to read dating

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Most of us are familiar with the concept of speed dating, but what about read dating? All is about to be revealed as the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library hosts a singles event for the LGBTQ community on December 1, 2011.

Vancouver Public Library hosts an LGBTQ Read Dating eventTaking its cue from the speed dating concept, attendees will participate in multiple “dates” throughout the evening but in a unique twist are asked to bring a book, movie or even a CD to use as their conversation-starters.  And for those wonder what movies and CDs have to do with libraries, Ross Bliss, Manager of Lending Services and Popular Reading says there is little difference these days.

“We long ago crossed the digital divide,” explained Bliss.  “Movies and music are just other forms of narrative and storytelling and are just as valid.  Our core is still books, but we are responding to popular need.  Other libraries have been very successful with movie type events and we set out to create an event that responds to what people need and want.”

Part of that need also goes the other way with the library’s need to reconnect with the elusive 19 to 35 year old demographic that they struggle to attract.

“Libraries are very successful with children because they are introduced at an early age,” said Bliss.  “Teens are bit more challenging but we do have teen programs.  It is the adults though that get busy with their lives and who become more purpose driven.  They don’t use the library recreationally and we see a general drop-off in this age group and only start to come back when they have kids themselves.”

For Bliss and his team, developing programming for adults like Read Dating is important to remind them that the library isn’t just about information but how it can enhance their lives as well.

Based on similar programs around the world, Bliss says the LGBTQ specific night was an obvious addition given the proximity of the central library to the large gay community in the West End.

“We’re also just greedy and want more fans,” laughed Bliss.

Read Dating LGBTQ
Thursday, December 1, 2011 @ 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Alice MacKay Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street

Admission is free but registration is required. Registration is open now at the Popular Reading information desk on Level 2 of the Central Library.  For more information please contact the Popular Reading Library at 604-331-3691 or visit http://www.vpl.ca.

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