Looking for a fun activity for February? Try book speed dating or a book tasting. For more information on how to do book speed dating, check out GLMA president Martha Bongiorno’s blog post, which includes print-ready resources. Below you can read about GLMA member Djeneba Muhammad’s experience with book tasting and learn how to do it yourself.
Chef Hat (check), Apron (check), Menu (check), Library transformed into a restaurant (check), Nerves (all over the place).
I got hired in my dream position September 2020 via a virtual interview, and the 2020-2021 school year was pretty much virtual, so this Book Tasting would be my first lesson and Book Tasting of the 2021- 2022 school year. I prepped and practiced at least 3 times, but I was still unsure of how my over the top excitement would be received by the cool kids (Juniors, and Seniors).
The bell rings and the doors open...enter the Seniors. I welcome them and show them to their tables. Once they are all seated I take on some of their confused questions: Why are you dressed like that? You really put books on plates? Are we supposed to eat the books? Menus? I assured them all of their questions would be answered during my opening presentation, but did advise them to not eat the books. Surprisingly, the students gave me their undivided attention while I worked through my opening presentation. I believe I had their full attention because out of a group of 20 I saw only 1 cellphone #fullengagement. My presentation explained the 10 fiction genres they would "taste" during their reservation- adventure, fantasy, historical, horror, humor, mystery, realistic, romance, sci-fi, and sports.
As the Book Tasting continued, my nerves had disappeared, and the students were ready for the next step- the Tasting.
Each student had a plated book in front of them and a menu. The student's had two minutes with the genre in front of them. During the two minutes students were to look at the front and back cover, and read a couple of pages. After doing that there was a place on the menu for student to write down their "raw" initial thoughts of the book. As an extra bonus each book had a personalized QR code which linked the students to the books summary on Good Reads. When the two minutes ended students swapped books.
Students were allowed to rank the genres based on the books they tasted, and share their favorite genre. After our closing discussion students were allowed to check out a book.
I believe the Book tasting was a success and I'm glad I went all in with the library transformation, and chef's uniform. The students actively participated, and checked out books in the end. The final cherry on top was the cool kids doing an IG Book Tasting reel with me (IG reel). I'm glad I pushed through my initial nerves and delivered the best meal ever.
Table Clothes, Centerpieces, Plates - Dollar Tree