Castille brings March (Book) Madness to the library


The KPHS library’s March Book Madness wall in the second round. Photo courtesy Jessica Castille.

Erin O'Shea, Staff Reporter

During the month of March, K-Park librarian Jessica Castille took the madness on the basketball court and brought it to the library. On a wall outside the library, Castille set up a bracket of 16 books, and asked students to vote on which would advance through each round.

Castille found the idea of March Book Madness on Pinterest and decided to bring the tournament to the halls of K-Park.

“I thought it would be fun to do here,” Castille said. “I thought it would be a fun way to promote reading, and even if students had not read the book, it would hopefully intrigue them to check it out.”

While some of the books in the tournament were familiar to students, like “Looking for Alaska” and “City of Bones”, there were many books that were obscure, like “All-American Boys”, and even some that had just recently come out, like “Salt to the Sea”, published just one year ago.

“To choose the books, I compared the top reading lists with the books that are the top ten checked-out books on our campus and ones that are on hold the most,” Castille said, regarding how she selected the 16 books.

As the month was nearing its end, the 16 books had been narrowed down to just two: “Looking for Alaska” and “Salt to the Sea”. While Castille was expecting the long-adored John Green novel “Looking for Alaska” to win, a surprising victory went to Ruta Sepetys’s “Salt to the Sea.”

“I kind of figured the books that had been made into a movie would move on because people could just watch them,” Castille said, “but I was surprised by “Salt to the Sea” because it’s a newer book and it’s historical fiction, so I thought it was an interesting one to make it over the others.”

Castille is hoping the hold the tournament again next year and to make it bigger and better. She’s also decided to promote the competition more, as there was only about 70 votes each round. Additionally, she wants to start with eight books rather than 16 next year, because she felt this year’s tournament took too long to reach the end.

Though her personal favorite, “We Were Liars”, did not win, Castille is looking forward to the next year of March Book Madness to see which one will come out on top.