Last year during the spring semester I swiped an idea from a neighboring district’s USC library intern (Karen Meharg, a now fully certified and working school librarian), and set to create a Library Book Tournament for my school. It was dubbed our “Library March Madness,” and patterned after the well-known NCAA Basketball Tournament (though a much smaller scale.)
Based on TRUE Circulation Data
I analyzed our Destiny Report to name the top 16 titles that circulated in our library, setting our parameters for the time frame of one year. Then I created my brackets, seeding the books #1-#16 based on where they fell in our circ data report. I decided to make this a 16 team (book) tournament so that each week of the month of March books in the brackets could advance. Going with sixteen meant within four weeks of the month our students could choose the “champion” book. Our “Library March Madness” was born.
Last year I did not set books in a series together, and it made for an awkward championship, as two books from the same series wound up being pitted against each other. This year if two books were from the same series, the series was noted with the first book, and included reference to the series. This also allowed variety into the sixteen, and we have three titles this year that are referred to as a series.
Setting up the Brackets
One should have some understanding of brackets and seeds to set library books in brackets. My husband, a former coach, and my library assistant, a current softball coach had to help me understand how to set the brackets for a sixteen team tournament.
I learned quickly how to place the seeds in the brackets, and here is the basic outline:
I was shown that for each contest combined seed (rank) added together equaled 17, and knowing that and getting help from those mentioned above, I numbered the brackets. From my Destiny reports, I used each title’s rank to determine seed, only combining series when I decided to name a series rather than a book in a seed.
Rules for the Contest
Each week I will create a Google Form that will ask students to choose a title in each (remaining) bracket.
- March 6 – Students vote to reduce the list from a “Sweet Sixteen” to an “Elite Eight”
- March 13 – Students vote to reduce the list from an “Elite Eight” to a “Final Four”
- March 20 – Students vote to reduce the list from a “Final Four” to the Finalists
- March 27 – Students vote to select the “DHS Champion Book of the Year”
We are voting once a week on Thursdays so that we can reveal the newest brackets the next day, Friday.
The following are some of our March Madness photos from last year and this year. This year’s brackets are still in creation phase.
Fun, fellowship, and Rewards!
Using Google Forms, we will ask students to submit their name and their selections. This will make tallying results simple. We will offer paper ballots, but we will then turn and hand enter their selections into the Google form. Students names are requested just to ensure students only vote once. The names are also requested so that we can do periodic drawings for prizes. Prizes will range from cafeteria goody coupons, Barns and Noble Gift Cards, and free paperback books. We’ll do a drawing once a week (Friday) from the previous days votes, and then again at our “Championship” celebration.
The “Championship Celebration” will consist of inviting students to a Donut Drop-in that will be scheduled the last Friday of March BEFORE school. These students will be the first to see the Championship Title before any other students. We’ll also culminate with a few other drawings.
A twist is planned
We are also going to invite students to fill out a bracket with predictions during the first week before revealing the week one titles that move on. Those will also be monitored for accuracy and integrity throughout the tournament, and students who still have a title alive each week will be in some of our drawings.
Those who work on high school and public libraries know that by this age, you tend to have your regulars. We expect our regulars to be heavily involved. This year I am going to use an idea I am swiping from Tiffany Whitehead who has embraced our “Library March Madness” Book Tournament for her own school. Tiffany has placed her brackets out in the hall for better visibility. I had already made mine for a narrow column in the library, but I like the idea of better visibility too. So I am making a second one that is a larger scale representation for our hallway. Here is her bracket display:
I’m anticipating more participation this year with better visibility outside the library. I’ll keep folks posted on our results.