Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl

When the world changed in 2020 due to the pan­dem­ic, the DeKalb Coun­ty Pub­lic Library (DCPL) and the DeKalb Library Foun­da­tion looked for new ways to con­tin­ue to sup­port the com­mu­ni­ty which need­ed them more than ever. Through the efforts of the Foun­da­tion and gen­er­ous donors, finan­cial sup­port remained strong allow­ing DCPL to be inno­v­a­tive in inter­act­ing with the com­mu­ni­ty.

DCPL is the only library in DeKalb Coun­ty to sup­port stu­dent teams in the Helen Ruf­fin Read­ing Bowl, a statewide read­ing com­pe­ti­tion. Since 2019, DCPL librar­i­ans coach ele­men­tary, mid­dle and high school teams of stu­dents from across DeKalb Coun­ty. Stu­dents read select award win­ning titles and com­pete in a quiz bowl for­mat by answer­ing ques­tions about the books. DCPL was pleased to be able to con­tin­ue to pro­vide this sup­port when the read­ing com­pe­ti­tion tran­si­tioned into a vir­tu­al set­ting.

Prepa­ra­tion for the bowl begins about six months pri­or to the com­pe­ti­tion and includes read­ing ten to twen­ty books. Stu­dents meet week­ly with their librar­i­an and prac­tice answer­ing ques­tions with the required buzzers. All this hard work pays off! DCPL has had teams place in the top three each year. The read­ing bowl was held vir­tu­al­ly in 2021, and the DCPL ele­men­tary team placed 3rd in the DeKalb com­pe­ti­tion. The DeKalb Library Foun­da­tion pro­vides the funds to cov­er all the books the stu­dents read, the buzzers, head­sets, entry fees, t‑shirts, and the end-of-sea­son cel­e­bra­tion. A par­tic­i­pat­ing fam­i­ly mem­ber recent­ly thanked the Foun­da­tion for its sup­port, I am very thank­ful to the foun­da­tion for sup­ply­ing copies of these great books for the kids to keep. The library’s read­ing bowl team is a won­der­ful, free enrich­ment activ­i­ty for my kids. They have enjoyed the books, meet­ing new friends, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in some healthy competition.”