ASSOCIATES (2012, July, v. 19, no. 1)


What’s a Book Cart Drill Team?

Allison Sloan
Senior Library Associate
Reading Public Library
Reading, Massachusetts

Have you heard of a Book Cart Drill Team (BCDT)? If you don’t know what they are, you have a fun surprise in store. Check out these urls and or go to and search for them.

The Massachusetts Library Association BCDT Competition at the May Conference was standing room only. Book Cart Drill Teams at state library conferences, including the Massachusetts Library Association, are sponsored by DEMCO (, and also in the past at the ALA Conference. There are trophies, prizes and gift certificates, amazing costumes, decorations, music, ridiculously funny twirls and spins and of course, book carts. But what’s it all about?

BCDTs are a team building, morale boosting, branding, marketing opportunity that tap into the creative energy of library staffers. From the Director – Google Memorial Hall, Andover, MA, BCDT and you will discover former Library Director, Jim Sutton as the Joker in an award winning Batman routine (Bam! PoW!) – to the Pages, Circulation Technicians and Reference Librarians all participating together as a team. On a BCDT the Paralibrarian staffer instructs the Head of Information Services on the choreography. The costume ideas might sprout from the normally technical minded Cataloguing Librarian. It’s an opportunity for degreed and non-MLS degreed staff to contribute and value each other’s talents, all with the goal of supporting the library.

BCDTs are marketing and branding magic. Along with statewide, regional or national competitions, there are local and community opportunities to bring the excitement to the community. The Andover ‘Cartwheelers’ marched as Keystone Cops in a slapstick comedy routine in the town parade, with children on the sidewalks shouting for their favorite character or familiar library worker. The patrons show up at the library eager to meet the staff member who played the whistle blowing officer. The Arlington, MA, Robbins Library, formed the Rockin’ Robbins BCDT and performed at Town Day in the library parking lot as Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The sparkling costumes were on display in the library with books, music and videos that people rushed to check out. At a library open house, the Plymouth Rockettes BCDT performed an abbreviated version of their routine, and were cheered on by library patrons young and old. No large print needed, everyone enjoys a precision pinwheel, with Steampunk sizzlers shooting imaginary rays into the sky.

If you still need to be convinced that BCDTs are a morale booster, let me tell you about the recent retirement party at my library. Melancholy as we were to say farewell to a cherished colleague, when the “Ole Ole” music started, the whole staff, including the retiree, joined the BCDT to perform a version of the 1st Place winning Reading Rollers tourists in a taxi routine, which included a bull fight!

In these times when every library is looking for new ways to bring the patrons in the door, and show the library as a community center and an information focal point, Book Cart Drill Teams are one more way to think outside the box and reach out to the community. So create a team building experience, and have some fun.