Belgian librarians play Cupid?

The librarians now lure single readers to the library, using candles and romance. This, they hope, will become the next dating trend.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2006 16:03 IST

Librarians across Belgium are putting aside their reading glasses for arrows as they play Cupid. Using candles and romance to lure single readers to the library, they hope it will become the next trend in dating.

Dubbing it 'bib-dating' in Dutch - literally, library dating - they hope to draw more people to books by appealing to their hearts - while giving singles a new place to find love.

"Basically it's speed-dating, but in a new setting - with books," said librarian Eric Van der Straeten.

He and fellow librarian Danny Theuwis are hoping their idea will blow the dust off stereotypes of libraries as stuffy and suffocating.

Theuwis experimented with the dating idea three years ago, combining 14 single bookworms - most between 18 and 35 years old - with novels.

"I got some flowers for the tables, got some candles and gave those who came a glass of red wine," Theuwis said.

The informal setting and two people huddling to discuss their favorite books was all that was needed to break the ice and let relationships blossom, he said.

"I got a lot of e-mails after that from them saying it was a pity it was only a one off," Theuwis said.

He and Van der Straeten have held sessions at Antwerp's Permeke library to prime and train librarians from 306 libraries across Flanders and Brussels on hosting bib-dating sessions.

First Published: Feb 11, 2006 09:00 IST