COLUMN: Love is in the air when Nelson goes candi-dating

Speed candi-dating allows voters to find their municipal match (or matches!) in three-minute one-on-ones.

Nelson folks are an engaged bunch. We wave placards, we write letters to the editor, we get tooth-gnashy about the things that bug us and we are fiercely proud of our community heroes.

And when it comes to elections, we vote.

Voter turnout is not a problem in Nelson — but for voters, wading through the pre-election rhetoric can be.

Enter speed candi-dating, through which voters find their municipal match (or matches!) in three-minute one-on-ones. New alliances may occur; strange bedfellows may emerge. The Nelson Public Library — always a social hub — is now poised to be a non-partisan political vortex. And a match-maker. Can you feel the love?

Candi-dating happens on Thursday, October 30 from 7 to 9  p.m. at the library.

For most of us there is at least one relationship for which we wish we’d had more information, the better to enter with our eyes open. Candi-dating does that for the voter-electee relationship. We take no responsibility for jilted lovers post-election — all relationships are fraught — but we want to enable open-eye voting of the best possible kind. And if sparks fly — well.

Dan Woynillowicz is the man behind nelsonvotes.ca, a site dedicated to local political engagement (pledge to vote!).  He’s done this sort of thing before. In 2011 he jumped on a suggestion made by a candidate in the municipal election and ran with it.

For the 2014 election year he approached the West Kootenay Eco-Society and the Library Board as co-sponsors, with the idea of taking candi-dating to a place with a rep for community engagement.

The library has that in spades, so the Library Board leapt at the opportunity to ramp our hub-ness up another notch, and maybe spread the love around.

It works like this: would-be electoral lovers register at the door and their names go in a hat for council candidates, school trustees, or both. Names will be drawn for each round to do the rounds, so to speak.

There will be three minutes to woo or be wooed, and then the bell goes off and things move on — just like real life!

Folks not in the current round can enjoy TED talks on municipal politics and other fun things. There will be door prizes and food, of course. Candi-dating can be a hungry business.

Like all libraries, we see ourselves as connectors: a conduit for information and learning; a community hub in which to learn and grow; a place where people gather and things happen. And now, we’re matchmakers. If there’s any fallout from this, we hope it will be chocolate.

Chocolate, of course, is a reference to traditional dating accessories, but at the library chocolate is a sort of cornerstone. It’s a staple for onerous meetings and goings-away and jobs-well-done.

In October (Library Month) and this year through a month of election madness, and then all the way until Christmas the library’s annual fall fundraiser features Nelson’s Chocofellar bars renamed with literary leanings: Wuthering Hazelnuts, Gone with the Coconuts, The Swiss Family Raisin, and Journey to the Centre of the Almond.

These join artist bookmarks, our literary cookbook Seasonings: a year of local flavor in recipes and words, our new bookbags with gorgeous art by Nichola Lytle, and now 10 different art cards featuring campy designs from old book covers.

So there you have it. Support your candidate of choice with your vote; support your Library with your wallet. There’s more than one way to candy-date in this town, and we love you for it.

 

— Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to www.nelsonlibrary.ca.

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