Not Your Typical Valentine’s Day Celebration

I’m not a hearts-and-flowers kind of girl (although I wouldn’t turn down some good dark chocolate), so I thought I’d see what alternative Valentine’s Day programming libraries are offering. What did I find? Libraries tackling serious and not-so-serious topics, including racism, death, zombies, and horror.

The Evanston (Ill.) Public Library will offer “A Racist Love Note,” a lecture by Harvey Young, a professor of African American studies at Northwestern University. The lecture will discuss how racist Valentine’s Day cards common in the late 1800s to the 1940s “capture in a material object the racial discourse occurring at the moment.”

The Redondo Beach (Calif.) Public Library will host Paul Koudounaris, author of The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses, who will share what we can learn from the dead. The event will include a slide show presentation and book signing.

Gallatin (Tenn.) Public Library offered a Zombie Prom over the weekend as an alternative for single kids ages twelve through nineteen. More than thirty teens participated in the event, which included “finger food,” a Thriller dance-off, and a game of Zombie Mafia. All attendees also received a United States Zombie Hunting Permit, which stated, “No limit. Please decapitate and burn all remains.”

The Indian Trails Public Library in Wheeling, Illinois, will be screening the 2009, 3-D remake of My Bloody Valentine. As an added bonus, a local actress and one of the stars of the film, Joyce Edgington (AKA Joy de la Paz), will be there to answer questions and sign autographs.

Finally, to give Cupid his due, the Highland Park (Ill.) Public Library hosted a pre-Valentine’s Day speed dating session over the weekend that resulted in four matches (and possible Valentine’s Day dates).