Literary March Madness

Maria+Emerson%2C+the+Research+and+Instruction+Librarian%2C+is+holding+a+Literary+March+Madness+competition.+If+you+win+then+you+have+the+chance+to+be+on+your+own+READ+poster+in+the+Tredway+Library.

Maria Emerson, the Research and Instruction Librarian, is holding a Literary March Madness competition. If you win then you have the chance to be on your own READ poster in the Tredway Library.

Katherine Hogan

The month of March can sometimes be synonymous with March Madness, the NCAA’s basketball tournament. This year at Augustana there is another form of March Madness—the Literary March Madness. Literary March Madness is a new program run by the library this year in which different books are competing in a tournament type style to choose a winner.  Each week, an email is sent out and students vote for which book will win the tournament.
Maria Emerson, a Research and Instruction Librarian and the liaison to the fine arts, performing arts, and Spanish, started working at Augustana this school year and is in charge of the Literary program. Emerson has a B.A. in Spanish and International Studies from Hope College and an M.A. in Library and Information Science form the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Emerson states that Literary March Madness is “something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but Augustana has a lot of student involvement and a lot of good books to choose from.”
When picking out the books that would participate in the tournament, Emerson and fellow librarians had several criteria. They researched what the most popular genres were for Augustana students to check out as well as books that have a large possibility of being previously known to students such as classics that many students read in high school and books that have been made into movies. Augustana’s library also must own a copy of the book so interested students can read the books highlighted in the tournament.
Attached to the Literary March Madness is a contest to pick students or faculty to be on posters in the library that promote reading. The poster “basically shows a student or faculty member with their favorite book.” These types of posters were started by the American Library Association and starred celebrities. Those who guess all of the winners in a round will get the chance to win a raffle to be on a poster.
“I thought it was really fun that the library was getting involved [with March Madness],” Lauren Clapp, an Augustana Junior who voted in the first round of Literary March Madness said. “My high school did the same thing and my friends and I always loved guessing.”
Augustana sophomore Isabel Dawson thinks that leisure reading is a great way to relax. Dawson stated, “I read every night before bed for at least 10 minutes. It helps me wind down and keep reading in my schedule.” Overall, Dawson believes that Harry Potter will win the tournament because “it’s a loved favorite of our generation.”
Cassandra Karn, an Augustana first-year, said “I love the Literary March Madness. I don’t care much for sports, but I love books, and as any of my friends could tell you, I waited with baited breath all week for the results to come out.”
Karn believes that Literary March Madness is a great way to promote reading by making the bracket’s display in a prominent place and adding some competition. Karn said that “It makes reading sound as exciting as it actually is.”
Emerson said that she hopes that Literary March Madness will help students see that reading is fun, not just academic. Also, Emerson would encourage everyone to vote because “Perks of Being A Wall Flower” only won by 2 votes against the Fault in our Stars. Every vote can make a difference, so keep voting for your favorites each week.
Photo: Maria Emerson, the Research and Instruction Librarian, is holding a Literary March Madness competition. If you win then you have the chance to be on your own READ poster in the Tredway Library. Photo by Corynn Hajdys.