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Battle of the Books Rules

Battle of the Books, also known at BOB, is a program for 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. Read the guidelines below for detailed information about the our philosophy, the season and eligibility.


The BATTLE OF THE BOOKS is a contest that has as its purpose the encouragement of quality reading. It is offered jointly by Bartlett Public Library, Gail Borden Public Library, and Poplar Creek Public Library. Team members read books from a list of books chosen by librarians. Scores are kept and winners are recognized; however, much emphasis throughout the season is placed on the fun of participation and the satisfaction that comes from reading and from starting and finishing an assignment.

Teams which meet one of the following criteria may participate:

* School teams from public and private schools located within the library district boundaries of one of the sponsoring libraries*

* Neighborhood teams composed of team members who reside within the library district boundaries of one of the sponsoring libraries but who attend an ineligible school or are home schooled, coached by an adult whose address is within the boundaries of one of the sponsoring libraries*

* NOTE: All teams must be able to arrive at a scheduled meet by 3:15 p.m. (see Rules 2-3 below)

Each qualifying group that wishes to participate may form one team. Schools with a minimum of 16 players may request a second team; requests will go into a lottery if the total number of requested teams exceeds 40.

The rules are listed below:

1. Each school should develop a team(s) from the most widely read 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. A team should have five members with no restrictions on the number of alternates. Substitution of players is allowed twice during a meet, so up to fifteen players on a team may participate in any given meet. The method of choosing teams is up to the individual school. Sample questions will be sent to the school to help the coaches as they develop their teams. The name of the school plus the number of teams they want to enter should be registered at the public library.

2. A schedule of battles will be set up at the beginning of the season. The same number of meets will be scheduled for each school. The season will begin in late October and will continue until spring vacation. Meets will be held after school at one of the public libraries, on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 3:15 p.m. The audience at any given meet is limited to teams scheduled to play, their coaches, and their supporters. Persons associated with teams not scheduled to play that day should in no case observe.

3. If a team cannot appear on the date scheduled, they forfeit the meet and receive a score of 0. The library reserves the right to consider a team a "no-show" after 3:30 p.m. The meet will take place with the remaining teams. If the library must cancel a meet due to weather or building problems, the meet will be canceled by 1:30 p.m. and rescheduled.

4. At a contest, the teams could be questioned on any one of the books on the BATTLE OF THE BOOKS list. The public libraries will provide a place for the meet, the questions and the moderator. Two teams will be asked to provide an adult scorekeeper at each meet. The other two teams will be asked to provide time-keepers. All BATTLE OF THE BOOKS lists and books must be stored out of view for the duration of any meet. During the meet, questions may not be written down by any member of the audience.

5. At the library meets, each team will be asked 15 questions. Teams will be questioned in succession. Each team will have up to 30 seconds to answer the initial question and 15 seconds to answer questions missed by the preceding team. Missed questions will be passed immediately to the next team--questions will not be repeated. Any team may correctly answer up to five "passed" questions per meet. Team members should confer over answers. One team member should then raise his/her hand and wait to be recognized by the moderator. The first response is the only acceptable answer. The moderator will be the final authority on the acceptability of an answer. If the coach thinks a question is inaccurate, a comment form should be completed (see attached sample form).

6. The questions that will be asked will be of two types. The first ten questions asked of each team will require a book title for an answer. If the team answers correctly, they will be awarded 5 points. If the team can also provide the last name of the author (or, in the case of a picture book, the team may instead be asked to provide the name of the illustrator), then an additional point will be awarded. The question may be repeated when it is asked of the first team, but if the question is missed, it is passed on to the next team in order, and may not be repeated. One bonus point is awarded for the correct title on a "passed" question; a maximum of five bonus points may be earned per team. If the question is not answered correctly by the second team, or if the second team has already answered five "passed" questions correctly, the question becomes "dead" and it is thrown out. The last five questions asked of each team will be "content" questions, requiring an answer other than the book’s title. When answering a content question, please state both the correct answer and the corresponding letter, e.g. a) the cat. For a correct response, each team earns 5 points and missed questions move on to the next team in order. The second team is awarded one bonus point for a correct answer. If two teams miss a question, or if the second team has already answered five "passed" questions correctly, it becomes "dead" and is thrown out. (A chart showing the results of each meet will be kept at each library.)

7. CONDUCT: When the moderator is reading a question to a given team, all members of that team must turn and face the moderator. After the question is read, the team members may huddle or otherwise discuss the question between them before raising a hand to offer an answer. The moderator reserves the right to throw out a question and any possible points for that question if he/she suspects that some form of cheating, such as signals or help from the audience, has occurred. Team members should strive to avoid looking out into the audience, especially when any questions are read that pertain to their team scoring points. Teams suspected of cheating on multiple occasions during a season may incur other penalties.

8. The reading list for the season will be distributed at the previous season’s Final Event. If the list is completed before this date, it will be available at sponsoring public libraries. Call Gail Borden Library to check on the list’s early availability.

9. ATTIRE: Team members often wear BATTLE OF THE BOOKS t-shirts that have been provided by their school or an outside source. While the wearing of shirts of this nature is acceptable and encouraged, these shirts may not feature a) book titles, b) book authors/illustrators, and c) verbiage that could be construed as a possible answer to a BATTLE OF THE BOOKS question. If team members are found to be wearing shirts that feature any of the above, they will be asked to turn their t-shirts inside-out for the duration of the meet.

The BATTLE OF THE BOOKS program is sponsored by the Gail Borden, Poplar Creek and Bartlett Public Libraries.