Community Partnerships Foster Friendly Competition and Lively Theater
Douglas County Libraries’ longstanding partnership with the Douglas County School District continues with this year’s book-based Battle of the Books and Page to Stage programs. The tournament-style Battle of the Books is underway and will culminate in a district finals competition on March 13, 2019, at the Parker Arts, Culture & Events Center (PACE). The 2019 Page to Stage production of “The Jungle Book” opens in schools and at various Douglas County Libraries (DCL) locations in April.
Battle of the Books
Battle of the Books is a bowl-style trivia tournament that’s all about books. Teams of kids in grades 3-6 compete against each other in interschool battles to determine a districtwide champion for all of Douglas County.
DCL kicked off its 10th season of book battles in late January. According to Kerri Morgan, Department Head Special Events at DCL, Battle of the Books has come a long way over those years. “We’ve been doing battles since the 2008-2009 school year, and at that time only seven schools were involved and just one library branch, Highlands Ranch,” Morgan said.
Four Douglas County Libraries Participating
Today, the program is active at 48 schools and four DCL locations: Castle Rock, Lone Tree, Parker and Highlands Ranch, with Highlands Ranch battles taking place at the Recreation Center at Southridge during that library’s renovation. Roughly 1,000 kids participate each year, and in 2018 the competition saw approximately 12,500 spectators over its six-week run.
Kathy Kubala, whose children previously competed, commented that the program was a wonderful experience for her kids. “My daughter thoroughly enjoyed the books and working through their nuances. But it is with our son that we noticed such a dramatic difference. He is more confident, self-assured, and ready for the next challenge,” she said.
Coyote Creek Elementary School Teacher Juli Puleo said her team is always impressed by how smoothly the program runs through the library. “We really appreciate the support and commitment to our kids,” she added.
Designated library staff assist the schools with understanding and facilitating their programs. Morgan said the library provides all administrative-level support, such as contracting with the schools, creating and distributing each year’s book lists and rules, administering mock battles, and fielding questions. Team creation and practices are left to the schools. Once the tournament begins, DCL facilitates the battles and provides the battle and district finals locations, as well as blog support and championship trophies.
“Not all kids are meant to be, or want to be, athletes,” said Morgan. “Battle of the Books gives those kids the opportunity to represent their schools with pride, and to be able to participate in a competitive event that doesn’t require athletic ability.”
Page to Stage
This spring marks the library’s 14th consecutive year of taking children’s theater to students in Douglas County schools through Page to Stage. Each literature-based production reaches kids in 40-50 elementary schools, promoting reading and providing entertaining interpretations of classic stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Peter Pan,” and this year’s production of “The Jungle Book.”
In partnership with Front Range Theatre Company of Castle Rock, DCL will facilitate approximately 50 school performances of “The Jungle Book” this spring, from April 1 to May 24. Six free library performances, which are open to the public, will take place between April 17 and May 9.
“It is always such a treat to bring something like this to the students here, and I am just so thankful that DCL and Page to Stage partner up to offer something like this to the schools,” said Bear Canyon Elementary School Teacher Nancy Kinjorski.
One parent remarked that even though last year’s Page to Stage came to her daughter’s school the day before the library performance in Castle Rock, her daughter insisted they see it again.
Page to Stage was performed for nearly 10,000 Douglas County School District students in 2018 and an additional 200 patrons at DCL branch events.
For more information on Battle of the Books and Page to Stage, visit DCL.org or call (303) 791-7323.
Douglas County Libraries elevates our community by inspiring a love of reading, discovery and connection.