By Nick Kuhl on February 29, 2020.
It’s March Madness, literary style.
Coinciding with the month which sees college basketball fans delight
in following the annual NCAA tournament south of the border, the
Lethbridge Public Library is offering its own bracket-based
competition, one in which books go head-to-head to determine a champion.
The library’s Book Tournament features a total of 32 book titles, two
each from 16 different genres — eight fiction genres and eight non-
Voting for Round One starts Monday, with voting continuing through
Saturday. The winners of each round go on to the next week’s round,
with voting again running from Monday through Saturday. The tournament
will determine a fiction winner and a non-fiction winner following the
four rounds of competition.
You don’t need to have read the books in order to participate, said
Peyton deWit, a library assistant with the library’s Information
Services department. People can vote once per day, either online at
lethlib.ca or in person at the Main Branch.
“It’s just something fun to increase community engagement,” deWit
said of the tournament, which is patterned after the March Madness
idea in basketball. It’s proven to be a successful event with other
libraries “and they’ve gotten really good feedback.”
The list of book titles includes many names that will be recognizable
to most readers, even if they haven’t actually read them. There are
classics such as Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and William
Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” along with contemporary titles
such as the Stephen King horror tale “It” and Jeannette Walls’
memoir “The Glass Castle.”
“We wanted a mixture of classic and modern titles that people would
be familiar with,” said deWit, who noted that compiling the book list
“was probably the most fun I had.”
Including titles from a broad assortment of categories was another way
to make the tournament of interest to a wide range of readers.
“That was the goal,” said deWit. “We wanted everyone to feel they
It’s hoped the tournament will help spur readership of the books on
the list, such as classic titles that readers might know but have not
If the book tournament is well received, it could become an annual
event, and perhaps even include a kids’ tournament in the future.
“We’ll see how this one goes,” said deWit, adding if it proves
popular with the public, “we could take this to the moon.”
A full list of book titles can be found online at lethlib.ca by
clicking on the Book Tournament icon.