Published on February 29th, 2016 | by Shannin Bailey

Captain America: Civil War Choose a Side Program

Whether you like it or not, it’s time to choose a side.

It’s a lesson I learned this past Black Friday. Generally, it’s one of the least popular days to be stuck working the reference desk.  Everyone’s either grumbling about missing out on Black Friday shopping deals, or bitter about not getting to sleep in and eat leftover pie with friends and family. But last November’s Black Friday was different. Since several staff members hadn’t seen each other because of Thanksgiving, there was only one thing to discuss—and it had nothing to do with pumpkin pie or shopping.

I’ve been waiting for you to get here. Did you see it?”

“Are you kidding? I watched Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans introduce it on Jimmy Kimmel.”

“What? How did I miss that?”

“It was pretty epic. After Kimmel I watched it a few more times on YouTube. Just a few more, though, like, twenty…five.”

“Seriously, who am I to judge? I figured you’d love it, because…so much Bucky!”

“I know, and the music? Oooh, and that last scene, where Cap and the Winter Solider—or Bucky— or whatever he wants to be called—were wailing on Iron Man?”

So good! It looked like Iron Man was holding his own, though.”


“Look, I know, I know, but…it’s Tony Stark. I sort of…might be Team Iron Man on this one. Is that a problem?”

“No, no, it’s fine. I just didn’t realize you were a crazy person.”


So…it looks like Captain America: Civil War is going to cause an actual civil war or sorts—with friends and coworkers falling on different sides of the superhero divide.  As long as we’re fighting, though, we may as well use it to our advantage by turning it into a program (after all, we’re librarians. It’s what we do.)

“Choose a Side” is a passive program I’ve used before, to great success. It works with any major rivalry, whether it’s Ohio State vs. Michigan, or Captain America vs. Iron Man. All you need is two clear containers, one for each side, decorated with “team colors,” and with entry slips in the corresponding colors (for example, blue and red for Cap, gold and maroon for Iron Man.) All patrons need to do is fill out the entry slip with their contact information, and drop it in their team’s jar. At the end of the program, you draw a winner, who gets a small prize—like a gift card, or a gift certificate to your local movie theater.


If you’d like, you can add another element to the contest—for example, you can ask patrons why they’re on Team Cap or Team Iron Man, or how they think Captain America: Civil War will end. You can even print out some of the best responses, and post them around the contest containers. Patrons walking through may be drawn in by the colors, and by the fact that it’s easy to see which side is the most popular by the number of slips. It’s also an amazing opportunity to display your graphic novel collection, get people reading and discussing comics, and a way to start conversations with your patrons about the original Civil War comics, and how they ended (because…the movie won’t end the same way, will it? Will it?!)

Captain America: Civil War is coming, and it’s great opportunity to engage our patrons, try and increase the circulation statistics of our graphic novel collections, and have a little fun while we’re rooting for Captain America (like I said…we all have to choose a side.)

About the Author

Shannin Bailey is a Reference Librarian in central Ohio. She considers herself a “geek’s geek,” and when she’s not explaining River Song’s timeline or why the Winter Soldier isn’t a villain, she’s a passionate advocate for promoting geek culture in public libraries through both programming and reader’s advisory. She’s presented professionally on Making Movies in Libraries, Using Facebook with Teen Advisory Groups, and Fandoms. She has a BA in English from The Ohio State University, and an MLIS from Kent State University. You can find her on Twitter (@shanninb), Tumblr and Instagram (@shanninb)

Back to Top ↑