Readers unable to judge a book by its cover with library’s new ‘blind’ book project

Rosehill Library Branch Assistant Sarah Watt wrapped books up in plain white paper to entice readers

Rosehill Library Branch Assistant Sarah Watt wrapped books up in plain white paper to entice readers into trying a new author or genre. - Credit: Su Anderson

A library in Ipswich has launched a novel new project to get people into reading, by wrapping up a host of books for people to borrow as mystery items.

Rosehill Library in Ipswich launched the project shortly before Easter, with 15 books wrapped in plain white packaging with only the first line of the story and the genre of book for readers to see.

Sarah Watt, 23, a branch assistant at the library came up with the project, and has been thrilled with its progress so far.

She said: “People are really enjoying it. Some are not sure about it at first but people would like to take the plunge, and because it’s a library book you can just return it if you don’t like it.

“It can open up a whole new author that you wouldn’t have known you liked.”

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Miss Watt was inspired to start the unusual idea after seeing online people having a blind date with a book for Valentine’s Day, and was keen to use the format as a way of attracting people to read more.

To date, more than 30 books have been wrapped up to surprise adventurous readers, including fiction, crime, thrillers and history books, and with the success the blind book project has already gained, Miss Watt plans to extend the idea further.

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She added: “I think I will keep it going. I have had some kids come in to request doing children’s books so they can have some fun with it too.

“I think kids will be more willing to unwrap something, and it will be great to bring more people into the library.

“People can branch out a little bit more, and some people only come into the library to use the computers, so we are bringing more than that with these books.”

This year Rosehill Library is celebrating its 110th birthday and the blind book project is one of the ways the library is marking the occasion.

On Saturday, volunteers were encouraging people to share their memories of the library through stories and photographs.

Postcards are also available at the library for anyone who wishes to share their memories and experiences.

Miss Watt added: “Rosehill is a small library and people who come in usually know what they want, so we are trying to get people more adventurous and more interested.

“Reading is a wonderful thing so I am really keen to introduce people who don’t read into doing it.”

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