Today's NY Times describes an evening of speed dating at the San Francisco Library.
“The library wants to be a gathering place that is relevant to younger people,” said Donya Drummond, the reference librarian who promoted the San Francisco event, mostly through Facebook. “We had more people than we knew what to do with.”
Literary speed dating seems to have its roots in Europe. Danny Theuwis, a librarian from Leuven, Belgium, believes he and his colleagues introduced the concept in 2005 with the goal to enliven somber libraries, and make them “more alive, more direct, more emotional,” he said in an e-mail. He trained hundreds of librarians across Europe to host literary speed dating, or “bibdating” in Flemish.
Among the first of similar events in the United States took place at the Omaha Public Library Benson Branch, where Amy Mather, a librarian, and her colleague at the time, Manya Shorr, organized a “Hardbound to Heartbound” night in 2009, on Valentine’s Day. Some 65 people showed up.