Library bracketology! (#libmadness)

Over here in the US, it’s March Madness time. I know very few librarians who are 6 foot 5, 20-year-old men, but why should we miss out on the fun? So it’s time for…


That’s right! Famous librarians of history go mano-a-mano, you vote, and we’ll see who is the last librarian standing.

Over the next few days I’ll be introducing the candidates in more depth; here’s the full brackets of 32. (Not enough time to come up with 64.) We’ll do the first round of voting this weekend, as the NCAA tournament narrows its field from 32 to 16, and mirror their schedule thereafter, ending April 4.

Competitors must be:

  1. Dead. Didn’t want to hurt any living librarians’ feelings by voting them out of competition — but if you want to be inspired by the current generation, check out the recently announced 2011 Movers and Shakers.
  2. Notable as librarians: either primarily librarians, or important contributors to librarianship — no famous people who happened to also be librarians. Sorry, Beverly Cleary and Mohammad Khatami.
  3. Intriguing, as solely determined by me.

Voting will be here, via a Google Form or whatever other embedded poll-type technology I teach myself by Saturday; you choose the winner of each matchup. You’re encouraged to vote early, vote often, advocate for your favorite candidates, and place bets. Electoral chicanery and barfights are also OK by me.

(While you’re at it, ALA members should also remember to vote in the elections currently taking place there. You know, the ones with living people and real stakes.)

And introducing the competitors…

In the Alexandria bracket, representing librarians from around the world, modern and ancient: S. R. Ranganathan; Callimachus; Eratosthenes; Anastasius Bibliothecarius; Zenodotus; M.S. Khan; Khalifa Mohammad Asadullah; Iyyanki Venkata Ramanayya.

In the Bodleian bracket, representing (mostly) Europe: Thomas Bodley; Antonio Panizzi; Gottfried van Swieten; Vespasiano da Bisticci; Paul Otlet; James Bain; Gottfried Leibniz (yes, that Leibniz); Gerdina Hendrika Kurtz.

In the Library of Congress bracket, representing the modern US: Henriette Avram; E.J. Josey; Charlemae Hill Rollins; Arnulfo Trejo; Judith Krug; Effie Louise Power; Mildred L. Batchelder; Charles Martel (no, not that Martel).

In the Boston Public Library bracket, representing (mostly) the less-modern US: Melvil Dewey; John Cotton Dana; Charles Coffin Jewett; Margaret Ridley Charlton; Charles Ammi Cutter; Justin Winsor; Ina Coolbrith; Mary Cutler Fairchild.

So! Want to tell everyone why they should vote for your favorites? Did some poor librarian get totally robbed of a championship berth? Comment here, blog it out yourself, or take it to Twitter: #libmadness.

14 thoughts on “Library bracketology! (#libmadness)

    1. *g* Thanks!

      I did consider Borges, but I felt his literary accomplishments dwarfed his library accomplishments. (Maybe next year I’ll do one of people who *happened* to be librarians but were famous for other things…)

      You are, however, also right that I do not know how to CSS up infinite hexagons.


  1. Hm. I can’t help thinking the final showdown will be between LSSI and Library Associates/LAC as the last librarians standing.


    1. I was tempted, but he failed the notable-as-librarian criterion. (Although another fine argument for, next year, doing brackets of librarians who were famous for other things…)


    1. Thanks! I try :). Would love to hear your further comments/blogs/tweets on who should win, why, how terribly misguided people who think otherwise are, et cetera. BTW have your & Iris Jastram’s post up in a tab, just waiting for a second when I have some spare brainpower (been short on that lately)…


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