Janesville50.3°

Fighting words: Library takes over Battle of the Books

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
October 5, 2007
— The Battle of the Books isn’t dead.

The Hedberg Public Library announced Thursday that it will take over sponsorship of the annual reading competition for fourth- and fifth-graders.


The Janesville School District said last month that it could no longer sponsor the contest because budget cuts reduced its elementary school librarian staff. The librarians had been in charge of running the contest and coaching the student teams.


The Hedberg Library said at the time that it would try to keep the competition going with the private schools but that it probably wouldn’t be possible to do it this year.


That has changed.


The Hedberg Library has been in touch with parochial schools, and the battle is on for this year, said Sharon Grover, head of youth services.


Scouting groups, home-schoolers and other groups will be welcome, Grover said.


“The library has been a part of this program since its beginning 24 years ago and is pleased to be able to keep the valuable tradition alive for the hundreds of Janesville students who participate every year,” the library said in a statement.


“Hedberg Public Library is in the reading game,” Grover said. “Our mission is to demonstrate to students how much fun reading can be. Battle of the Books fits this mission perfectly.”


It’s even possible that the public schools could field teams, if volunteers can be found to organize and coach them.


A parent or other group that wants to organize a team to represent one of the city’s 12 public elementary schools should contact their school’s principal, said Kathy Boguszewski, who coordinates the district’s library programs.


“It sounds like there’s a variety of groups, and I think it’s wonderful because it’s a wonderful program.” Boguszewski said, adding that she would volunteer to keep score at the finals.


Boguszewski raised one possible downside of the good news: Some children who want to compete might not get the chance.


“I hope there will not be pockets that are missed because they don’t have an active parent group,” Boguszewski said. “But maybe someone will come forward.”



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