Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Wrap-Up: Book Fight!

So in case you haven’t been following me on Twitter or Tumblr, I’ve been hosting my first ever Book Battle at my library. The original dates were March 1 – April 5, but I miscalculated a bit and redid my posters so that the battle ended with the end of the month:

I made brackets, and every week I made new ballots. I pulled all the books, movies, and Playaways related to the books and put them on display. Weekly prizes were books I culled from donations, and the grand prize is the victorious book (or books, depending- if it was a 2-3 book series, I could swing that from my programming money, but if it was a huge series, not so much)….

I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I was going to get- my teens can be hit or miss sometimes. Self-directed things relating to FOOD, absolute hit. Anything else has been iffy….. So imagine my surprise when I kept getting more and MORE and MORE entries.

Starting Display

 First week, I had 10. Not really bad, considering. Second week, which was our Spring Break week, I had 21. And it was going along relatively predictable lines- Hunger Games vs Divergent, Vampire Academy vs Boy Nobody, Wicked Lovely vs Prophecy, and The Testing vs City of Bones.

Week Three

 Then Week three hit, and I got 36 entries. THIRTY-SIX. I didn’t miscount. The teens weren’t messing with me, or with the contest. They had gotten into it, and I was hearing debates about the books- why this one was better than that one, and why Tris and Four should beat out Nobody, and how Kira would kick Cia’s ass. (They don’t censor around me when we’re alone- when in mixed company, yes.)

Final Week

The final week, after counting the votes from week three, we were down to two books: Divergent by Veronica Roth and Prophecy by Ellen Oh. Now, everyone on my staff were placing bets on Divergent- movie coming out, we can’t keep the series on the shelf, etc.
So I counted the votes on the 31st. THIRTY-NINE votes. From FIFTEEN different teens (I never said they couldn’t vote more than once- in fact, I encouraged them to vote daily), and the vote was a rout.
If you do not have this series in your collection, add it.
 Ellen Oh’s Prophecy was the overwhelming winner!!! Against huge series like Mortal Instruments, Divergent, The Hunger Games, and others, Ellen Oh’s beautifully written story about Kira and her quest won out.
I contacted Ellen Oh via Twitter, on the off chance that she’s maybe possibly send signed bookplates so that I can put them in the books my grand prize winner will get, and she’s being so gracious she’s sending us signed copies of Prophecy. I could not have asked for better, and my teen winner will be over the moon- he’s like me, authors are his idols.
So if you have any doubt about whether or not a book fight/battle is worth it, it definitely is. It wasn’t an incredible investment considering the outcome:
  • 3-4 hours to get things queued up (books selected, brackets set up, book covers located and printed out, brackets created, donations located from Main Library, and first ballots printed)
  • Notifying staff about contest and asking them to push it to teens
  • An hour per week during the battle to get ballots collected and counted, new ballots printed, and wall updated
  • Another hour to get winning series from local bookstore (I could order these online but I like local shops)
  • Possibly an hour online Twitter/email with Ellen Oh back and forth about the awesomeness that she won
  • Investment total: 10 hours, in-house printing and donations, $25.00 budget for winning books
  • Outcome: 106 entries, over 20 different teens involved