Library begins competition to find Troy’s fave book

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published November 17, 2021

 Until Jan. 1, Troy residents can submit the names of their favorite books to the Troy library. Then, from January to March, those books will be pitted against each other in a voting bracket to determine Troy’s favorite book.

Until Jan. 1, Troy residents can submit the names of their favorite books to the Troy library. Then, from January to March, those books will be pitted against each other in a voting bracket to determine Troy’s favorite book.

Photo provided by Olivia Olson

 Troy Library Director Emily Dumas holds up her favorite book she is entering in the Great Troy Read competition: “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott.

Troy Library Director Emily Dumas holds up her favorite book she is entering in the Great Troy Read competition: “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott.

Photo provided by Olivia Olson

 Olivia Olson, the Troy library’s head of community engagement, holds up her submission for the Great Troy Read program: “84 Charing Cross Road,” by Helene Hanff.

Olivia Olson, the Troy library’s head of community engagement, holds up her submission for the Great Troy Read program: “84 Charing Cross Road,” by Helene Hanff.

Photo provided by Olivia Olson

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TROY — The Troy Public Library is inviting the public to share their favorite books so the library can determine the favorite book in Troy.

In the Great Troy Read competition, members of the public can submit their favorite books before Jan. 1. Then, from January to March, people can vote online as the top 32 picks are matched up head-to-head and are narrowed down in a bracket until there is one favorite book in all of Troy.

“We will have a March Madness-style bracket. The competition part is fun, but we also are even more interested in seeing what books people love,” explained Olivia Olson, the library’s head of community engagement. “People can submit until the end of December. Between January and March, the top 32 books submitted will be put into a bracket. They will be matched up in pairs, and people will vote online between two books, and we will narrow the winners down until there is one winner.”

The program is based on a national competition that PBS did several years ago.

“We modeled it after the Great American Read program that PBS did a few years back,” Olson said. “What they did, and what we are doing, is have patrons submit nominations for their favorite book. It can be for any age, and it just has to mean something significant to a reader. Businesses partnered up with us. We have voting booths there, in the schools or here in the library.”

Olson said the library was looking for a fun winter program to engage the community, and this sounded like a perfect candidate.

“My coworker and I were brainstorming something big to do over the winter,” she said. “We like to do one big program per year, but we usually slow down in the winter. We wanted to do something people could do to connect them to the community, but something they could do on their own time. We also wanted to share our patrons’ favorite books and allow them to connect to others who like that book.”

More information about the Great Troy Read is available on the library’s website, and there are collection sites for submissions in schools and certain local businesses.

“They can go to www.troypl.org/greattroyread to vote,” said Olson. “The businesses participating are listed there, as well. Every Troy school also has a box to vote, as well.”

Among the Troy businesses hosting a submission box is Biggby Coffee. Liz Karg, the owner, said she was excited to take part in such a fun program.

“I am a librarian, so I love anything that involves the community in regard to literary events,” she said. “When Olivia asked me about it, I was thrilled about it. It also gives us something to talk about across the counter with customers and the books they read.”

Karg added that it’s easy to make a submission and a great way to get to know fellow Troy residents.

“There is a box here beside our daily trivia contest,” she said. “They put their favorite book in the box, and they can share why they love the book. They can do this through the end of December.”

Those participating can be as hands-on or hands-off as they wish.

“People can indicate when they vote if they are comfortable sharing why they like that book, and we will be posting those who say they are on Facebook and Instagram,” Olson said.

Olson said she was excited to enter her own favorite book into the competition.

“I submitted mine, ‘84 Charing Cross Road.’ It’s a real-life story consisting of letters between a book seller in London and a woman in New York, and it shows them connecting over their favorite books, even though they never meet,” she said.

For those who always wanted to share their favorite book with others or bring attention to an underappreciated book, Olson said this is the perfect program to get involved in.

“I might let them know that their vote might encourage others to read the book they nominate,” she remarked. “If there’s something you always wanted more people to read or think other people should read it, or if you always wanted to talk to others about that book, this is a great way to do that.”

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