I’m 61 and newly single. How to find Mr. Right? “That’s easy!“ I’m told. “You work at a library. What’s sexier than a man who reads? You’ll have your pick of terrific guys!”
The author of the article about how to meet potential dates that a friend just forwarded to me agrees. The piece contains this tip: “Go to the public library and cruise the shelves for smart singles.”
Is this really good advice? I logged onto Facebook and asked my fellow librarians: Is your library a good place to look for love?
The first comment I got wasn’t exactly encouraging:
Let’s see. When it comes to our regulars, I can choose from Alcoholic Homeless Guy, Ranting Political Guy, Porn Viewing Guy or Russian Mail Order Bride Guy. No thanks.
But the next response was more upbeat:
I definitely recommend looking for love at the library. It’s where I met my husband!
Over next day, I received dozens of comments expressing a range of opinions.
For many librarians, the answer to the question “Should I look for love at my local public library?” was a resounding “Hell, no!”
Yeah, I’d really want to hook up with our Conspiracy Theorist. Or the elusive guy who poops in our potted plants.
The Uber-Religious-Witnessing Guy is the big catch at our library!
We’ve got a great “fixer-upper.’’ He’s here all day and he’s actually quite handsome and he reads a lot… but he lives in a van in our parking lot.
Finding romance? Right. Great idea. Just go up to random people and ask “What are you reading?” Because there’s nothing I love more than having my reading interrupted to talk to a stranger about it.
Sadly, my library seems like a better place to find your next hit than to be hit on.
In an ideal world, you’d meet fellow intellectuals at the library. In the real world? You’re more likely to meet a guy who wants to warn you that the Martian spaceships are about to land.
Please visit the library to find books, not romance. Our patrons are entitled to read or use a computer in peace, without being hit on.
Other librarians felt that library love, if not a sure thing, was at least a possibility:
It could happen. I can definitely see that two people browsing in the same section might get to talking.
I’d never come here looking for love. But if you’re at the library and you happen to see someone attractive reading a book you love…? That’s not a bad conversation-starter.
You could find love here if you attended our special programs — lectures and readings and book clubs. Participating in a program that you’re interested in is a good way to meet like-minded people.
We’re actually holding a Speed-Friending event at my branch this winter. I’m hoping that single patrons will see it as a safe place to meet new friends.
There have been no matches made yet between library staff and patrons, but the single librarians among us remain hopeful. When a cute guy comes in, we’ve been known to check his account to see if he’s married or available. Especially if he’s flirty.
We’ve got a good-looking, well-dressed patron with a good job — he’s an accountant — who is here every evening. He’s so pleasant and engaging that we’ve wondered why he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Maybe he’s just waiting for the right reader to come in and take him away from all this?
Other librarians were totally in favor of finding love at the library:
Meeting at the library worked for me and my husband.
I met my boyfriend at the library. He’s nerdy and cute and we met when he joined our “Friends Of The Library” group. So it can happen.
Judging by the hetero couples who duck into the men’s room together, some folks are definitely finding romance here. (If romance is the right word for it…)
I met my husband while working at the front desk. The book he wanted wasn’t available, so I picked up a paperback copy at a used bookstore and added it to our collection, then phoned him and told him he could come in and pick it up. He ended up picking me up too. We’ve been together 25 years.
But? Proceed with caution.
A young woman recently came in to use one of our computers. The minute I saw her, I knew she would be hassled by some of our resident self-professed Casanovas. Sure enough, within minutes there was a steady stream of guys walking by, acting like sharks at feeding time. When she asked me for some help with the job application she was working on, I took the opportunity to ask if any of the guys had been harassing her, to which she replied, “Yeah, they’re all trying to get a piece of this. If they only knew I just got out of jail for stabbing my ex.”
In conclusion? Although nothing is certain, it’s entirely possible to find love at the library. (And if you’re a good-hearted, bookish, 60ish guy, let me encourage you to visit mine.)
Even if you don’t leave with a date, you’ll never have to leave alone. You can go home with The Girl On The Train. A Man Called Ove. Madame Bovary. Or Alexander Hamilton! (Or yet another book about how to meet people.)
Just make sure to be on your best behavior, because while you’re checking that book out, we just might be checking you out.