Battle of the Books: Frequently Asked Questions

What happens on the night of the battle?

You will need to arrive at your designated library location at least 15 minutes early so you can sign in and set up. There will be appropriate signage directing you to the meeting room space.
Each team will be given one answer sheet per round and two pencils. Teams can choose to have one person be responsible for writing down their team’s answers or they can let the person who knows the answer write it down. Only one answer is needed per team.

The answer sheets are clearly marked. There will be a separate sheet where you can mark down the Author’s last name for bonus points. If there are two authors for a book, like in the case of some graphic novels, we will accept the main author.

Rounds: There will be three rounds of questions (Character, setting, plot), with a break in-between each round for scoring and surveys. The Battle Moderator will read each question twice, and then teams will be given 30 seconds to write down their answers. After 30 seconds, the Battle Moderator will ask the next question. At the end of each round, the Battle Moderator will announce the correct answers and the Team Scorekeepers will mark how many points were earned.
Every round will have one question from each title on your grade’s booklist. The Battle questions will not be interpretive questions. They will relate to a character, the setting, or important events and have concrete answers. For example: In Nimona, what is Nimona’s supernatural ability? Answer – Shapeshifter.

Scoring: If your team answers correctly you earn five points. Your team can earn one bonus point if you include the author’s last name as part of your answer at any point during the Battle. This means you have the potential to win 10 bonus points – bonus points will help decide a winner if there is a tie after three rounds. Answers must be specific. The Moderator and Judges will decide if an answer given is correct, and that decision is final.* Scores will be shared at the end of each round, 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: At the end of the rounds, the Judges will tally the final scores. Once a clear high-scorer has been made, the Battle Moderator will announce the final scores and all teams will be celebrated


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

Help teens form their teams (3 – 5 people per team / grades 6 – 12), register your team(s) here, 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.
  • Meet with the team regularly. Offer encouragement, check on reading progress, foster team spirit, help team members learn author names and discuss the books’ characters 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 CLP – Teen Services 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 arrive 15 minutes early for Battle.
  • Consider being a Manager for a maximum of two teams.

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. 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 CLP – Teen Services 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 three separate dates and locations listed for Battle of the Books?

There will be three separate Battles, one for each of the following grade levels: 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 a week apart to make it easier for parents and team managers to accommodate the various dates and times.

This year, we are incorporating three CLP locations as battle destinations to accommodate more teams and be 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 make sure to choose books that already have several copies available in our catalog. CLP-Main, Teen has ordered additional copies, as well as giveaway copies for our multiple battle locations. We also have many of the Battle titles available through eCLP (eBooks & Audiobooks) or book on CD! Stop into your local Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Ask a Librarian for help finding or reserving a book.


What if my 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 October-January, we try to encourage any solo teens to first ask friends or classmates to join them (Remember: Teams can be as small as 3 members!). If a teen 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 1st/2nd/3rd choice location: Squirrel Hill, East Liberty or West End. A teen specialist will then work with that teen to pair them with a team that has designated their ability to take on additional team members.

If a teen is interested in Battle of the Books, but not sure if they have the capability or commitment to participate on a team, there are several opportunities for teens to volunteer on the night of the event (email for more information).


Are there any special accommodations for visually challenged team members?

If any type of special accommodations are needed, please let us know by February 7, 2020. During the Battle all questions are spoken aloud twice using a microphone as well as displayed on a projector screen. If a team member has trouble writing the answer within the allotted 30 seconds, another team member may write the answer for them.

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