It’s not just books you can pick up at Sandwell libraries – the service is trialling a speed dating session for those looking for love.

An evening of speed dating at Thimblemill Library is being piloted on Saturday 3 September with a round-robin dating forum where everyone gets ten dates each lasting four minutes. A small-talk master class will start the evening, which is the first of its kind for Sandwell Council's Library Service.

The event is the brainchild of award-winning Sandwell librarian Julie McKirdy who has teamed up with Dr Gary Wood a local psychologist, coach and author, to run the event. Julie McKirdy, who was awarded the British Empire Medal, said: "I have always loved the beautiful building of Thimblemill Library and over the years have listened to many stories of first romances starting here. "One couple in particular springs to mind, they met every Friday and I could see a romance was blossoming. That was 25 years ago - they have been happily married and now their children use the library.

I mentioned the idea of speed dating to Gary, our life coach who uses the building, and he jumped at the idea and offered to run it." Dr Gary Wood, from Smethwick, said: "I was delighted when Julie raised the idea of speed dating. I'm including a small talk master-class to make sure the speed dates go smoothly and so people go away with a few new skills. I'll be there to make sure everything goes smoothly and offer support if anyone gets stuck for a question. There definitely won't be any awkward silences. I want people to come away with a confidence boost." Councillor Richard Marshall, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for leisure, said: "All our libraries have lots going on, they are real community hubs and places where people make friends, but we've not had speed dating before. I think it is a great idea and I hope the event will start a new chapter in lots of people's lives." Booking in advance is essential and the age range for the first event is 35 to 50 plus. There are plans to run other events for different age groups.

Tickets are £10 and to book contact 0121 429 2039 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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