HANCOCK COUNTY – Tournament brackets are going beyond basketball in Hancock County.

Book brackets are set up at local libraries, giving bookworms a chance to weigh in on their favorite novels or characters.

“It’s fun for patrons to talk about books and see what other people are reading – just to interact with each other. It’s good, friendly competition,” said Karis Madison, adult programming library at the Vernon Township Public Library.

The library in Fortville has a large display set up of book covers, from the 16 most popular adult novels checked out in 2023. Elin Hilderbrand, John Grisham, Colleen Hoover are just a few of the popular authors represented in the bracket challenge, where people are encouraged to select the best reads.

The overall winner will be announced April 1, and if someone filled out an entire bracket correctly they win a prize of a free book.

Madison said it’s a fun way to get people excited about reading. Some may not be into basketball, but a bracket challenge is something many can get behind. The VTPL has a smaller bracket challenge for children and teen books as well.

In Greenfield, 32 popular book characters are going head-to-head in a tournament bracket event through the Weston Elementary School library.

Liz Bennett, library assistant, said in the past they’ve done election-themed book competitions or Olympic-style competitions. This is the first for a tournament bracket challenge for the students, and kids are excited to pick their favorites.

Harry Potter, Clifford, Junie B. Jones, Biscuit and Pete the Cat are just a few of the popular characters children are choosing from. Bennett chose characters from books that are checked out the most and put them in a random shuffler to determine how the bracket would be set up.

The school serves children in kindergarten through third grade, and Bennett said the older ones especially are getting into the challenge. The school’s overall book character winner based on popular selection will be announced in April, shortly after children return from spring break.

“I like to see them get excited about some of these books and maybe check out a book that they hadn’t thought of before because they see another student excited about a book,” Bennett said. “It’s just important to keep things fun. As long as the kids are having fun when they’re reading, that’s going to have them keep a book in their hands.”