What is the Battle of the Books Program?

Battle of the Books is a national Summer Reading Program for middle school students who will be in the 6th through the 9th grade in September. Participants in the Mid-Hudson Library System program are asked to read eight selected titles and then participate in trivia battles based on the books. A Regional Battle is held the Saturday following Labor Day in September.

The goal of the program is to promote a love of reading in middle school-age children, to expose them to titles and authors that they might not encounter in school and to inspire teamwork and good sportsmanship in an atmosphere of friendly competition.

The titles for the program are chosen by representatives from the participating libraries. Care is taken to include a variety of genres such as mystery, fantasy, classics, historical fiction, adventure, sports, or contemporary fiction. Consideration is given to the range in ages of the participants so that books that are chosen are appropriate for all ages.

The member libraries of the Mid-Hudson Library System have been participating in Battle of the Books for ten years. When the program began in 2005, only six libraries participated. In 2014, 24 libraries came together for the Regional Battle. Contact your local library for information about joining a team.

Who Can Participate?

The Battle of the Books program is for students who will be in grades 6 through 9 in September or currently in grades 5 through 8. Participants are expected to read the eight titles during the spring and summer months. Each library has its own requirements for meetings and attendance, the necessary number of books to read and decision on who will represent the library in the Regional Battle.

Are There Any Fees to Participate?

Like most library programs, there is not a fee charged to participants. The program itself is funded through donations from Friends Groups and other generous supporters. However, each library invests money in the program to purchase books, t-shirts and other incentives. Again, this can vary from library to library.

Where Do Participants Get the Books?

It is up to the individual libraries to purchase copies of the titles. Copies of the books are also available through the Mid-Hudson Library System Catalog.

Do Participants Need to Read All of the Titles?

Each library determines their own rules. However, if a title is deemed inappropriate by a participant’s family, it is taken into consideration.

When and Where are Meetings Held?

Each library determines the best meeting times for their teams and most are held at the specific library. Most participating libraries begin the program in the spring to allow the team to have enough time to read the books and to participate in practice battles with other neighboring libraries. Participants must be available for the Regional Battle on Saturday following Labor Day in September.

How is the Regional Battle Held?

The Regional Battle is held as a bracketed competition requiring double elimination for each team. During each game of the Battle, the teams are asked 25 trivia questions based on the eight books. A buzzer system is used by the players to respond to the questions. The answers to the questions are always the title and author of the books. First, Second and Third Place teams are acknowledged after the final round of the Battle.

Where do the Questions Come From?

The questions for the Regional Battle of the Books are written by representatives from each of the participating libraries. These questions are edited by members of the Question Committee who select the best questions for each of the titles to be used in the Regional Battle. The leftover questions are distributed to participating libraries to use for practice battles.