Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Next Step

Oh my, the time does fly.  Looks like we are ready to start and what a great set of teams we have assembled here.  Many have active blogs now and are getting into the groove.  Maybe it is time to make up some rules.  So far, the only rule is that this contest starts January 1, 2011.  The only reading that counts is what you do in 2011, you can’t blog about books you read in High School and get credit for them.   I guess that about does it for rules unless you can think of something else.

Now onto our bigger issue:  How are we going to figure out who won this thing?  We have been thinking about and talking a lot about this subject.  We want scoring to be done in such a way that it encourages reading and participation.  We want the system to be objective and fair and reflect the values of the ancient Olympic Games or any other top flight event.  We examined scoring for a variety of team competitions in real life and what we came up with is…Why on earth should this be OUR responsibility?   To that end, please click on the survey and vote for the factors YOU think should be included in scoring. 

Click here for survey

One last thing:  Every team has at least one person who is an “author” on this blog.  We invite any other participants to become authors too.  Just send an email to: to add them.  This blog is here to direct people to YOUR blog but we can also use it to keep each other informed of our progress, post a good review, introduce your team, issue team to team challenges, brag, anything you want.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Answers to questions you haven’t asked yet.

Why should I do this? We have found that our competition has improved our reader’s advisory skills.  It is clearer whom to go to with specific questions about some genres and authors.  Even though we always talked about books a lot before, now everyone knows who our “specialist” in certain areas is and that is helpful.  We also are getting our social networking requirement here.  As we mentioned in our presentation, we have noticed some library blogs (all in other states of course) that exist but haven’t had a post in six months.  Well, you can’t really even count that as having a blog, can you?  Our blog has also made our staff picks newsletter easier to put together because there is the copy and paste possibility instead of generating all new content.  Displays are easier too…you can look through the blog and come up with ideas. Plus our favorite reason, it is FUN.

What if RA isn't part of my job? Karen Robinson famously said during a class I took from her, “My friends and family don’t care what I do all day; they expect me to recommend books to them.”  So really it isn’t all about your job, it is about the joys of librarianship.   If you aren’t providing this service now, maybe you should start.  After all, keeping your bosses reading gives them less time to cut your budget.  Also, you never know when your job might change or you might change jobs.  Something like this could give you a leg up if you artfully include it on your resume.

My boss says no – well everybody can’t have “vision” but don’t let that stop you.  You can “go rogue” and set up a blog that isn’t affiliated with your library.  You can even put a disclaimer on your “personal” blog that states “this blog is not affiliated with ‘your library name here’” just to be sure there is no question about you following your leadership.  You can also tell us your boss’s name so we can make fun of him/her on OUR blogs.

This sounds like a lot of work.  We like to think of ourselves as the masters of work minimization but someone does have to get the blog going and the team will have to read and write about what they read.  I’ve been posting monthly book and page totals on our blog but people mostly keep track of their own totals and email them for me (with a few exceptions).  Since you are designing your own competition, keep in mind the amount of administrative tasks you are signing on for as you get creative.  I can’t emphasize enough the need for you to make CLEAR to your team that they have to keep track of their own reading.  After all, isn’t that why spreadsheets were created?

As for the team competition with the Missouri Book Challenge, the purpose of this blog is to keep us posted on your progress.  You can interpret that anyway you want to.  There is no requirement that you post anything here but in the end, you will have to provide totals.

You keep saying it is fun but I’m a fun hater.  Well, you got us here, maybe you should try therapy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

How we setup the UCPL Book Challenge

We went back to see how we started with our competitive reading.  We did talk it up to the staff but also sent everyone this official invite memo.asking them to participate.  We sent this to them on January 4 figuring they could still remember anything they had finished reading thus far in 2010.  This memo is also given to all new hires.  We will prorate anyone who joins the contest after the official beginning.

Looking back, we didn't really post a whole lot of rules.  Here is a document with all of our posted rules.

Here are some ideas for your contest.  Post new ideas that you come up with so we can all benefit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More information

Look at the fire in their eyes! These people know what is going on because they attended the session at the Missouri Library Conference about Competitive Reading. They are forming their teams now. Click here to get up to speed by looking at our presentation (minus the witty repartee).

Want the scoop short and sweet? We wanted to start a blog but didn't want it to be neglected so we started a reading contest. The only way you get credit for what you read is to post to the blog. Our competitive nature took over after that and we now have a lot of blog posts. Check it out here: We are having a lot of fun with it and think it is time to move into team competition. We want you to start a team and see if you can out read us.

Per the last post about getting started, so far, we have started this blog. We will share our "getting started" materials and you can share yours. Next, we will make up some rules. We have a great prize in mind for the team competition...a trophy, of course,...we can call it the Missouri Reading Cup at least until a better idea comes up. This week, we will be recruiting teams every way we know how. When your team is together send an email to and we will set you up as an author to this blog.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's easy to get started

This is all you have to do to get started with your competitive reading:
1.  Start a blog (if you don't already have one).
2.  Make up some rules.
3.  Gather some prizes.
4.  Recruit your team.
5.  Register your team by sending an email to - we will set you up as an author to this blog.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Start your engines!

This is the place where it will all happen starting January 1, 2011.  Missouri libraries are invited to compete in the Missouri Book Challenge, the preeminent reading competition in the nation.  Don't hesitate to register your team by sending an email to