Geneva Public Library’s Fantasy Library League

As you may have heard, the Geneva Public Library (Geneva, NY) started a Fantasy Library League in September. They described FLL as a way to “test your ability to purchase books that your community wants to read just like a librarian.” Each player received 100 points for book-buying. The library provided a list of titles with different point values (Fifty Shades of Grey – 1o points, Bossypants – 3), and players tried to select the ones they thought would get checked out the most. Players received one point each time one of their items was checked out.

I loved the idea. Patrons could get an idea what it’s like to be a librarian; how do you figure out which books your patrons want, and how do you make the most of small budget? A fantasy library league also sounded like a great activity for library school students. While the librarians involved in collection development usually have plenty of data and past experience that players wouldn’t have, this would still be a great way to begin thinking about what the job entails.

Collection development is one of my favorite aspects of librarianship, so I excited to see that anyone could participate. I signed up and selected a few titles thinking I had a decent chance of winning. After all, I thought, I have an MLS, plus I’ve completed a collection development course and an internship. Sadly, when the results came in today I was ranked 61…out of 77. It might have helped if I’d known something (anything) about the community I was selecting books for. But it was a lot of fun. Hopefully, Geneva will offer FLL again next year, and maybe more libraries will start their own leagues.

In the meantime, I’ll be strategizing.


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