Howard County Library System
2015 Battle of the Books - Coach Information
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presented by Howard County Library System and the Howard County Public School System

2015 Coach Handbook

Coaching Responsibilities

The coach or designated adult for the team must attend one mandatory coaches meeting offered on either Tuesday, December 2 or Thursday, December 4 at 7 pm at Miller Branch, even if s/he has served as a coach in previous years. In addition, the coach or designated adult also needs to attend one of the Battle logistics meetings offer on either March 17, March 19, or March 26, 2015 at the HCLS Miller branch.

A coach may serve as coach for only ONE team.

Coaches should:
  1. Act as communication link between HCLS and team members and parents regarding all information and materials for Battle of the Books, including book and ticket distribution.
  2. Notify HCLS of any special needs of your team members.
  3. Ensure that your team’s name has been confirmed by BOB staff in case multiple teams select the same name.
    • You may wish to develop a list of alternate names in case your team’s requested name has already been claimed.
    • The last day to make changes to team name and participating students is February 6, 2015.
  4. Submit signed participation forms and signed photo release forms for themselves and each team member.
  5. Read each of the books to assist teams with preparation.
  6. Explain the answering and scoring procedures to your team.
  7. Make sure your team demonstrates good sportsmanlike behavior during the Battle.
  8. Ensure your team members and their families understand the rules of the Battle and expectations on the day of the event, including their assigned location.
  9. Ensure your team has transportation to their Battle location.

During the actual Battle, each coach will act as monitor for another team. You will be asked to:
  • Leave your packet of Battle supplies (answer sheets, pencils, etc.) with your original team.
  • Make sure that the team you are monitoring remains quiet during the reading of the questions.
  • Ensure that the team you are monitoring stops writing at the end of the 30-second time limit (whether answer is complete).
  • Remain focused on the team you are monitoring. Please remember that these students need your encouragement.

Build team spirit
  • Meet regularly.
  • Decorate team T-shirts or create other costumes.
  • Have your team wear the same color or item of clothing to the Battle.
  • Create a banner for your team to hold when marching in the parade. Book titles, authors, and/or covers may NOT be a part of the team’s costume or banner. When creating a banner, keep in mind that teams will be sitting in a small amount of space. The banner should be no larger than 22” x 28”.

Prepare for the Battle
  • Decide who will read each book. It will be to your team’s advantage to make sure at least two team members read each book. In the past, the most successful teams have had all team members read the books and then assigned “experts” for each book.
  • Decide how often you will meet to discuss the books.
  • Hold mock battles or “Jeopardy” style games based on the books.
  • Have students compose practice questions to quiz each other during the meetings. Please refer to the Types of Questions section.
  • Contact your school’s media specialist to determine if other teams from your school are participating so you can practice together.

Encourage and reward students
  • Offer praise and encouragement.
  • Serve snacks at your meetings.
  • Play a game before your meetings.
  • Have a party after the Battle.
  • Keep it fun and make happy memories.

  • Please check the FAQs web page.
  • If your questions are not answered, please email us at
  • Continue to check the FAQs page for updated information.

Important Information for Parents
  1. The Battle will be held from 7 pm to approximately 10 pm on Friday, April 10, 2015 at area HCPSS high schools. Teams will be assigned their specific Battle location by February 2015. Once your team's location has been assigned, it is imperative that all parents are aware of the team's Battle location.
  2. If accompanied by their coach, students may check in at the school starting at 5:45 pm. All other students may begin checking in at 6 pm. All team members must be checked in by 6:45 pm. Any students arriving after 6:45 pm will be disqualified.
  3. Signed participation forms and signed photo release forms are required for each coach and team member. They will be distributed in December and must be returned by February 6, 2015.
  4. Due to safety regulations, audience seating is limited. Each team member will receive two tickets (distributed by the coach).
  5. Children not participating in the Battle require a ticket and must be accompanied at all times by an adult. Children are not permitted to roam the school building unattended.
  6. The Battle consists of four rounds of questions. There will be a 15-minute break after round two.
  7. Since the competition takes place in a school gym, appropriate footwear must be worn so the floor is not damaged. Roller blades, skateboards, cleats, high heels, etc. are not allowed.
  8. Food and beverages:
    • Feed your child dinner before the Battle.
    • Because schools have limited snack and beverage machines, teams may wish to provide their own. While snacks may be left in a designated area away from the gym, HCLS is not responsible for these items.
    • No food or drinks are permitted in the gym. All will be confiscated, including bottled water.
  9. Your child should use the restroom before arriving at the school, as bathroom space and time before the Battle are limited.
  10. No cell phones, other electronic devices, or books are permitted on the gym floor.
  11. As the Battle date approaches, visit for updated information.
  12. Team and other event photos will be posted to the HCLS Flickr page within two weeks after the Battle.


2015 book list: Sample Questions
Information for coaches
Rules and Procedures
Frequently Asked Questions
Battle of the Books