Want to play fantasy football this fall?
The Brookfield Public Library has a league ready for you. Yes, a library is sponsoring a fantasy football league. It’s the idea of Frank Murray, the head of reference and electronic services at the Brookfield Public Library. The fantasy football league is just one of the “bro-grams” that Murray has created to reach out to men.
“It’s really geared towards getting guys into the library,” said Murray, who came to the Brookfield Public Library in January after working at the Aurora Public Library for two years. “That’s the one demographic we kind of strike out with.”
Other programs geared toward, but not limited to, men are a program about the stock market, a non-fiction book club and a new 3-D printer.
Library Director Kim Coughran said the library is trying to reach out to men.
“It is a goal of ours,” Coughran said. “It certainly is a target audience that we could serve better.”
In fantasy football, players pick teams of professional football players from the NFL, and each team gets points based on the statistical performance of each player on the team. Fantasy sports leagues have exploded in the last 20 years and some “owners” have a fanatical devotion to their teams and scour the statistics to make week-to-week tweaks to their lineups.
Murray, 29, said that the fantasy football league he ran at the Aurora Library was a big hit.
“It was extremely popular in Aurora, and I’m hoping it’s going to be the same way here,” Murray said.
Libraries have long been a female-dominated domain. However, the old image of a crusty librarian hushing everyone is outdated as libraries have moved beyond just books to engage people in all sorts of learning and social activities.
But most librarians are still women. Men make up only 18 percent of credentialed librarians, according to Macey Morales, the media relations manager for the American Library Association.
Murray graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in history, aiming towards a career as a high school teacher. But he didn’t enjoy his first semester of teaching at a public high school on the South Side of Chicago.
“I realized teaching wasn’t for me,” Murray said.
Casting about for a new career, he talked to his former college advisor who suggested that he consider becoming a librarian, because in college he enjoyed doing research.
“I was always in the library doing my school work or researching so, yeah, it sounded like a cool profession to get into, so here I am,” Murray said.
Murray earned his master’s degree in library and information science at Dominican University in River Forest. He is enjoying working at the smaller Brookfield Public Library after getting his first full-time job in Aurora.
“Not to put down Aurora at all, but here in Brookfield it’s a much homier feel,” Murray said. “You feel like you’re really part of the community. You get to know your patrons really well … and that I really enjoy.”
If you’re thinking about getting involved in the fantasy football program, you still have time and there’s still room for teams. The league is for anyone 14 and older and draft day is Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.
Visit the library’s website at brookfieldlibrary.info for more information.