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Battle of the Books: Frequently Asked Questions

What happens on the night of the battle?

Please arrive in your Zoom meeting at least 5-10 minutes early to check in with Library staff and with your teammates. Your team manager will share the Zoom link with your team members prior to the day of the Battle.

Teams should pre-designate one member to enter the answers into the answer form so that team points can be tallied together. Only one answer is needed per team.

In between rounds, you can socialize and share your opinions about the booklists and Battle.


There will be three types of questions for each title on Character, Setting, and Plot. The Battle Moderator will read each question twice, and then teams will be given 30 seconds to input their answers. After 30 seconds, the Battle Moderator will ask the next question. During break times, the Judges will go over the answers and tally scores, and the Battle Moderator will announce the correct answers and current score counts.

The Battle questions will not be interpretive questions. They will relate to a character, the setting, or important events of the plot and have concrete answers. For example: In Nimona, what is Nimona’s supernatural ability? Answer – Shapeshifter.

If there is a tie at the end of the competition, a tiebreaker round will take place.

In addition to the main questions, there will be a separate bonus quiz where you can mark down the Authors’ last names. If there are two authors for a book, as in the case of some graphic novels, we will accept the main writer.


If your team answers a question correctly you earn five points. Answers must be specific. The Moderator and Judges will decide if an answer given is correct, and that decision is final.* Your team can earn 10 bonus points from the Author Name quiz – bonus points will help decide a winner if there is a tie after all the questions are scored.  Scores will be shared during breaks, so teams may celebrate their effort.

*Only participants can challenge an answer. Once the Moderator and Judges make a decision on any challenges, that decision is final.

The End:

Once the Judges have tallied the final scores and a clear high-scorer has been determined, the Battle Moderator will announce the final scores and all teams will be celebrated. If there is a tie at the end of the three rounds of questions, a tiebreaker round will take place.


I’m a Team Manager – what do I need to do?

You will help students form their teams (3 – 5 people per team / grades 5 – 12), register your team(s), and help them access the books from their list. Of course you want your team to do well, but the most important thing is for your team members to have fun! Here are some tips for you to consider:

  • Make sure each team member understands which books on the reading list they are expected to read, and that they do not necessarily have to read all of the books.
  • Meet with the team regularly in a virtual environment. Offer encouragement, check on reading progress, foster team spirit, help team members learn author names and discuss the books’ characters, plot points and settings.
  • Act as the communication link between the Library and team members and their parents/guardians with all information regarding Battle of the Books. Please keep us informed of any team changes. For questions, contact the Library at
  • Encourage good sportsmanship – and make sure you as a team manager demonstrate the same – before and during the Battle.
  • Help your team members and their families understand the rules of the Battle and expectations the evening of the Battle.
  • Make sure team members receive the Zoom link and arrive 5-10 minutes early for Battle.
  • Consider being a Manager for a maximum of two teams. If many students are interested, recruit other school staff or parent volunteers to be managers.

How do you choose the book titles? Can we recommend books for next year?

Choosing titles for Battle of the Books can be a challenging task! The selected books were chosen based on student feedback from past BOB events, diverse subject matter and characters, award winning titles, representation of a wide variety of genres, and their literary merit, good reviews from trusted sources and wide availability through the Library in a variety of formats.. The books were each read, reviewed, and discussed by CLP Teen Specialists. Should you have a concern about any of these titles, please feel free to contact the Library at

One of the activities in-between battle rounds will be a survey on best/worst BOB titles from each grade’s list, as well as a section on the general survey for participants to write their book/genre suggestions! We will also provide print surveys to Team Managers & Parents to provide their feedback on the event, which can include book selection comments.


Why are there four separate dates listed for Battle of the Books?

There will be four separate Battles, one for each of the following grade levels: 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th & 8th grade, and 9th – 12th grade. Because many participants have friends or siblings competing in more than one battle, we have spread them out to make it easier for parents and team managers to accommodate the various dates and times.

This year, we are holding Battles in a virtual environment for maximum safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. This also accommodates more teams and is more accessible to interested participants from around the city.


I can’t find the books anywhere / they are all checked out… what do I do?

We’ve chosen books that already have multiple copies available in our catalog. CLP-Main, Teen has ordered additional copies and we also have many of the Battle titles available through our eResources collection! Call, text or chat with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for help finding or reserving a book.


What if my child or teen doesn’t have their own team – can they still participate?

We definitely want all interested participants to first have the ability to form their own team with their peers. Since registration is open from December 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021, we try to encourage any solo Battlers to first ask friends or classmates to join them (Remember: Teams can be as small as 3 members!). If a student would like to participate but still does not yet have a team when registration is nearing the end, we ask that they email with their full name, email, phone number, school grade, and any accommodations or technology needs they might have (hotspots, etc.). Library staff will then work with that student to pair them with a team that has designated their ability to take on additional team members.


Are there any special accommodations for visually challenged team members?

If any type of special accommodations are needed, please let us know by February 19, 2021. During the Battle all questions are spoken aloud twice, as well as displayed within the virtual environment. If a team member has trouble inputting the answer within the allotted 30 seconds, another team member may be designated to be the answerer for them.

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