Bracketology: Tips for a March Madness Style Bracket at

March Madness style brackets for
library programs
Alvin Dantes
Head of Access Services
SUNY Oneonta
The Bracket
Banned Books Week 2012
Banned Books Week 2012
• Banned Books Week  Banned Books
– Weekly matchups
– Culminating events during Banned Books
Week in October
• Prizes for most accurate brackets
• Website for Banned Books 2012
– Contained information on our events as well
as Banned Books information in general
– Updated weekly with new polls and bracket
– Link to website on all physical materials and
QR codes posted throughout the library
Google Form
Google Form
• Weekly votes with Google Docs form
– Embedded into web page
– Tied to Google Spreadsheet for easy data
manipulation or export
Physical Bracket
Physical Bracket
• Physical bracket hung in the library
– Marketing
– Regular updates
– Reusable
• Made with large format printer
• Book titles attached separately with sticky tack
• Empty bracket still available for future events
• Each flyer for the events had a bracket
printed on the back that could be filled out
to win prizes
• Combination of in-house materials and
pins/posters/t-shirts from ALA (all of which
were used as prizes)
• Exhibit space in the library devoted to
promoting Banned Books Week
Mistakes Made
• 2nd week of voting only had 17 votes
• Bracket submissions were due early in
September, though classes had just been
in session for a few weeks
– Bracket participation low
– Could not capitalize on later interest
• Timing off during the last week of voting
• Captured campus interest
– 100+ votes each week for matchups
– At least two faculty using banned books and
censorship in curriculum
• Innovation award from the South Central
Regional Library Council
Do It Yourself
• Plan things out way ahead of time
• Give yourself a big launch date and
promote it
• Tie the program with other programs
occurring during the same time period
• It’s never too early to prepare for a
culminating event
The Bracket
The Bracket
• We used a large format printer
– Easy (for us) to make
– Easy to use and reuse
– Lack of modularity
– Still relatively small
The Bracket
• Alternatives
– Use individual pieces of paper and link them
with string or yarn
– Make it virtual with a dynamic website or a
– Other ideas?
What to Put on the Bracket
Banned books
Favorite authors/illustrators/creators
Literary character showdowns
People of historical significance
• Google Forms
– Embeddable into external websites
– Allows multiple submissions
– Integration with Google Spreadsheets for
easy data manipulation
– Lack of web analytics
Twitter/Facebook/other social media
Other ideas?
• Word of mouth
– Brackets are adversarial. Instant discussion
– Seeding creates upsets, underdogs, and
• Social media
• Be visual
• Update the bracket on a schedule
– Perhaps turn the update into an event in itself
• Keep a website/blog up to date with
information regarding your bracket
– Link to the website or to the vote wherever
and whenever possible
• Book talks/discussion groups
Things to Keep in Mind
Things to Keep in Mind
• Timing is everything
– We did not correctly anticipate the timing of
the bracket
– Remember to build momentum over the
length of the bracket
– Have a predictable schedule of updates
Things to Keep in Mind
• Marketing is everything else
– Find additional stakeholders
– It’s a long process, you need momentum
– Advertise before it starts if you want people
filling out brackets

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