It’s a battle like no other! And while history has provided us with lots of battles to study, none of them may be as important to the children in Brunswick County than the North Carolina School Library Media Association’s (NCSLMA) Battle of the Books, starting in January.

Battle of the Books is a national reading incentive program for students in third through 12th grades. Students read books and come together to test their knowledge of the books they have read. Students compete at regional, district and state levels every year.

Both Harper and Barbee libraries play a critical role in Battle of the Books for the students in Brunswick county. Heather Donnell, manager of Harper Library says, “We support the children participating in Battle of the Books by providing another place where they can access the books in the program. The schools typically have only a few copies of each book, so our collection adds to the availability.”

Download Battle of the Books lists.

There are 22 middle school books and 15 elementary school books on the Battle of the Book list for the 2021 competition. Friends of the Library Southport & Oak Island (FOLSOI) funded copies of all of the books for both the elementary and middle school programs for both libraries. FOLSOI has been allocating funds for this program for over five years.

Last March, FOLSOI named the donation of funds from FOLOSI in honor of Judith Kurzer, longtime FOLSOI board member and library liaison. In her role, Judith works closely with both Heather Donnell and Erika Dosher to ensure appropriate and timely spending of funds raised by FOLSOI. Heather says,” Judith was instrumental in connecting what we do at the libraries with the local schools. She made sure we had contacts with all of the schools so we could share our programs and missions for the children of the county with the schools. It makes the program very special.”

Judith was honored to be part of a program that she feels brings pleasure, challenge, and knowledge to the children who participate. “To me, nothing could be more satisfying than being part of opening the doors to a forever experience of learning and pleasure through reading. It is enough for me to know that children whose names I will never know will have an opportunity to see the world in a new and wondrous fashion and engage with others of their own age in this experience. I would be amiss if I did not recognize the teachers who willingly give that extra and often not acknowledged time necessary for such a program to exist. I honor each and every one of them as I am honored today. Thank you FOLSOI for allowing me to be remembered in this fashion.”

Tammy Tackett, children’s librarian at Harper Library adds, “The Battle of the Books program is important because it encourages and facilitates literacy. Additionally, it gives the participants the experience of being part of a special community where they are a part of a cooperative team.”

Good luck to all of our readers!