Fantasy Leagues Come to the Library

When we think about fantasy sports games, the first thing that comes to mind, particularly at this time of year, is fantasy football. Across the country, people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds join together in their shared joy of weekly roster-building, monitoring injury updates, compiling points, and obsessively  tracking their players’ stats in games where the ultimate score and outcome only matter as far as how many points the players they “own” score for them in their weekly fantasy match-up. I’ve never participated in a fantasy football league, but as a fan of the game, as someone who’s competitive (possibly to a fault), this sounds like something I could get way too involved in.

But for those who are far more interested in spending Sunday afternoon curled up with a book than wearing out the remote control flipping between games, your time to get on board with a fantasy league may just have arrived. 

 Enter the Fantasy Library League, an invention of the Geneva Public Library in Geneva, New York. Rather than drafting players, participants draft library titles, and points are scored based on how frequently each title is checked out during the league’s designated time period. So the goal is to predict which titles will rack up big circulation stats, thus scoring the player more points. This particular library has set up a system where the titles available to “draft” are pre-assigned point values based on how popular library staff anticipates they will be, and then each player is allotted 100 points worth of titles to draft. The players whose collections have the most total circulations will be awarded prizes at the end of the competition, and there is no cost to participate. They’ve set up a completely online selection and point standings system, so participation seems pretty straightforward and management of the program on the library’s end looks fairly doable after the initial setup. A fantasy library league could certainly be operated manually without any online component if your library does not have the capability to do it this way.

 The Geneva Public Library’s program began earlier this month, so it will be interesting to see how it goes logistically and how much interest it generates. This looks like a great way to engage patrons with the library collection and give them some insight into how libraries go about selecting titles to add to the collection in the first place. Plus, for those of us who just like a reason to compete, a fantasy library league provides a great opportunity to do so, without having to be athletic or care at all about sports. On the other side of the coin, a number of libraries across the country are sponsoring their own fantasy football leagues, particular geared toward their teen patrons, but in some cases for adults as well. These programs are a great way to bring new people into the library, and to increase interest in and usage of the library among both teens and adults.

If you’re interested in starting a fantasy library league or a fantasy football league at your library, check out these sites for more information:

Geneva Public Library’s Fantasy Library League: http://genevapubliclibrary.net/FLL

“Fantasy 101” from NFL.com: http://www.nfl.com/fantasyfootball/fantasy101

How to Start a Fantasy Football League: http://www.draftguide.com/articles/HowToStartLeague.htm

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