This month at the Pleasant Hill Library in Hastings, books are competing bracket style. The library is calling it March Book-Madness, said librarian Gladys Kim.
Library goers can pick which book they think will win the popularity vote. Each week this month, they'll cast ballots for whichever popular books are competing that week. In true March Madness style, the winning books from week one will move forward in continuing competition through four rounds, until only one champion remains.
Kim said the idea didn't start in Hastings.
"It's been done in other libraries," she said.
And there's no prizes, either. When the final book is chosen, readers and library staff will simply celebrate that one book.
The books chosen are all elementary and junior high level books, although the voting isn't limited to kids. People can vote as many times as they come into the library. Each round ends on Sunday, when the library will tally the votes and move the winners to the next round.
For the first round of voting, there are 16 books competing. The books were selected by library staff. The matchups are as follows:
1. "Middle School" vs. "Invention of Hugo Cabret"
2. "Warriors" series vs. "Magic Treehouse" series
3. "The One and Only Ivan" vs. "Wonder"
4. "BFG" vs. "Charlotte's Web"
5. "Because of Winn-Dixie" vs. "Little House on the Prairie"
6. "Harry Potter" series vs. "Percy Jackson" series
7. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series vs. "Dork Diary" series
8. "Crossover" vs. "The Giver"
Also at the library this month are ballots for two major book awards, the Maud Hart Lovelace Award and the Star of the North Award.
"We are an official voting place here in the library, and there are ballots here," Kim said.
According to the Maud Hart Lovelace Award website, the award is a children's choice book award for fiction, intended to encourage recreational reading among school age children. Students in grades 3-5 who have read or listened to at least three titles from the Division I nominee list and students in grades 6-8 who have read or listened to at least three titles from the Division II nominee list are eligible to vote for the Maud Hart Lovelace Award.
The Star of the North Award, according to its website, is also a children's choice book award, but for picture books. Like the Maud Hart Lovelace Award, the Star of the North Award aims to promote quality, engaging picture books and reading for pleasure among school-aged children. Children pre-K through eighth grade voting for Star of the North must have read or listened to at least eight of the 10 nominated books.