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Civic Impact

Nancy Drew seeks same: Literary speed-dating at the TPL

The Lillian H. Smith branch of the TPL will host the speed-dating event November 6.

After successful events aimed at straight crowds and the gay community, Literary Speed Dating is returning to the Lillian H. Smith Branch of the Toronto Public Library on November 6, this time focusing on women and trans*-identified matches. “It’s really important to have a women and trans* event, simply because it’s the public library recognizing that these spaces are important, and these library users are also important,” says Rachel Manderfeld, Youth and Adult Librarian at the branch, and one of the event’s organizers.

The free event, which is currently full and running a wait list, will host 20 women and trans* participants who have signed up under literary-inspired pseudonyms, “based on anything from classics to graphic novels to TV shows and movies. There was Imperator Furiosa and Nancy Drew,” explains Manderfeld. Participants are also encouraged to bring a favourite book, film, or TV show, which they can use to break the ice during each four-minute speed date. “If someone can whip out some delightful quotes, someone might find that appealing,” says Manderfeld with a laugh.

After the dates have wrapped up, participants can pass along confidential cards to event organizers, who will then connect potential matches. “All of the previous events have had matches, and we’ve put people in touch with other,” says Manderfeld. “It can be either friendship or romantic matches. We’re billing as a way of meeting potential dates, or potential new friends. Maybe this is just another great way to expand your community—romantic, friendship, or professional.”

After the previous speed-dating events, library staff wanted to organize something specifically for women and trans*-identified people. “We determined that the most interest was coming from [those groups]. It hadn’t been offered before, and it would be a positive thing for women and trans* communities to have an event that really supported them.” And, despite relatively low-key publicity, all twenty spaces have already been filled. Depending on how this event unfolds, others aimed at the same group may be scheduled for the future. “It’s a way of drawing people who have a common interest. It’s either literature, or being a user of the Toronto Public Library.”
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