A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…or last fall during a TAG meeting, I asked the teens for ideas on what programs we should have on Fridays (in what were the “team activities”). One teen suggested a “Nerd Debate” and she and I laughed since we were the only ones who seem to watch “King of the Nerds.”
I don’t know about you, but I would LOVE to debate Star Wars and Star Trek, but alas the summer reading program theme was superheroes. It was decided the teens would debate Marvel vs. DC. Since we all knew the TAG members would be actively involved (and an excuse to argue), it was decided that I would do the research and figure things out.
I mean, I love to research stuff, but once I sat down and tried to research Marvel and DC’s databases…I realized this was not going to be easy. Marvel’s databases were easy to navigate and find what I needed. DC’s were not. At all. So I had to change tactics and use the Marvel and DC Encyclopedias we had in our reference section. We became one (I also used this research for trivia…but that’s another story). This is what my researching looked like:
After researching all the characters, I then tried to match up Marvel and DC characters with similar powers. It sparked some debate amongst a couple of staff members. Then I made cards: “You are arguing that PUNISHER would win over Batman” and vice versa. Everyone was excited and clamoring for their match-up when the time came. All in all, I gave out about 8 match-ups to 19 teens!! Then the day of the debate rolled around and only 9 teens showed up.
But, the teens who showed up had a lot of fun. It started with simple rules: three minutes to open, one minute rebuttal, and questions the judges (me and an awesome nerdy volunteer). One teen was so mad her opponent didn’t show up, she wanted to debate herself and switched tables each time. The teens who did show up had pages of notes and were studying up until the last minute. There was the epic showdown between two teens over Hawkeye and Green Arrow. I set this up on purpose because one teen always went on and on about how great the Green Arrow was even though he knew Hawkeye was my favorite. I made sure Hawkeye was assigned to someone from Mock Trail. We all wanted to see this match happen!
All in all, I would do this program again. I would definitely make sure not to schedule it the day before a holiday (what was I thinking??). I would recommend it if you have a core group of teens who are dedicated.
Faythe is the Tech Services Manager for the Tulare County Library in way-too-sunny California, but works mainly at the Visalia Branch Library. You can find Faythe on Twitter (@farre) or Tumblr (farre.tumblr.com).