Librarians & Authors Battle for Trivial Laurels

After sitting through many a Powerpoint slide show of upcoming titles, I was almost giddy (or was that the Seattle coffee?) to attend the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) Library Family Feud program on Sunday afternoon. Hosted by the voluble (and veteran) quizmaster Chris Vaccari of Sterling Publishing—who hosts a Wednesday quiz night in Manhattan—the Feud pitted librarians against authors according to the traditional TV-gameshow format.

Team Library was represented by Alene Moroni (King Cty. Lib. Sys.), Stephanie Chase (Seattle P.L.), Ruth Griffin (Mukilteo Lib.), Kelda Vath (Tacoma P.L.), and librarian Zach Zelinski. Team Author was Maria Semple (Where’d You Go Bernadette), Ben Schrank (Love Is a Canoe), Craig Johnson (A Serpent’s Tooth), Jonathan Evison (The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving), and Ali Fisher, Macmillan’s Library Marketing Coordinator.

Talia Sherer, Macmillan’s director of library marketing, began the event by playing the Family Feud theme music on her iPhone and holding it up to the microphone. AAP’s Becca Worthington manned the board. Vaccari began (and continued) the program by mentioning that the answers had been gleaned from a survey of 100 librarians from across the country.

The first board, “Famous Johns or Johnnys,” caused everyone trouble, but Team Author took it in the end by successfully guessing names like “Johnny Cash” and “John F. Kennedy.” Team Author took the second board, “Stringed Musical Instruments,” after Team Librarian successfully filled out most of the answers. No one was able to guess the least common of the instruments named in that survey: the mandolin.

Team Librarian came back with “Things You Bring to the Beach.” The number one answer, “book,” was not their first guess, but they were able to successfully fill out the whole board, with answers like “umbrella” and “sunglasses.” I have to hand it to librarians for being a surprising bunch: “bathing suit” did not make the list at all.

Ultimately, Team Author took the lead with a heated round of “Flavors of Ben and Jerry,” and Jonathan Evison handily won a “Quick Money” round. Team Author won $1000 for the charity of their choice. Team Library also received $250 for their charity.

It may not have been the most educational of sessions at Midwinter, but it was certainly among the most fun. The long conference hall was full by the time the Feud concluded, and the audience formed a line that snaked around room to get their books signed.

Molly McArdle About Molly McArdle

Molly McArdle (, @mollitudo on Twitter) is Assistant Editor, Library Journal Book Review. She also manages the Library Journal tumblr.


  1. Are you KIDDING me??? Mighty librarians lose to authors? I am OUTRAGED at this travesty of justice! Firstly that I was not flown out there to kick ass for libraryland, and secondly that Sterling’s Chris Vaccari christhebookie on twitter (Race to the End: Scott Amundsen and the Attainment of the South Pole by Ross D. E. MacPhee) probably loaded the deck against we librarians; he owes us all a drink next time he’s doing Wednesday night trivia in NYC. Team Library: UNITE for next year. This loss cannot go unavenged! Molly, thank you for shining the reportage light on this – I will alert the Pulitzer committee.

  2. Still outraged.