It’s Greenwich vs. Darien, but this familiar showdown won’t happen on the football or lacrosse fields — it will happen in the library.

As part of the national “Giving Tuesday” project on Tuesday, Dec. 1, Greenwich and Darien libraries launched a faceoff in what is being called a “Book Bowl,” in which the two will compete to see which can raise the most money by the new year.

The winner will get more money for community programs and bragging rights.The loser will have to host a tailgate party at the winning library for volunteers and supporters in January.

“Darien and Greenwich both enjoy top national rankings due to the quality of their staffs and the innovative materials, programs and services made possible by the support of their private donors,” Tad Smith, president of the Darien Library Board of Trustees, said in a news release. “Darien is always up for a competition with Greenwich, whether it be on the sports field or a Book Bowl. Bring it on.”

Having seen a similar charity competition between rival NFL teams the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens — two cities with some serious football resentment toward one another — Greenwich Library Development Director Nancy Klein said she felt playing up Greenwich’s rivalry with Darien would be a fun way to get people in both towns focused on the libraries and the community programs they offer.

“This is a win-win for us and Darien,” Klein said. “It gets people involved and energized and increases our donor base. Plus it should be a lot of fun for both towns.”

Both towns fund their library’s annual operating budgets. In Darien Library’s case, all books, DVDs, databases, technology and programs are paid for solely by private donations, according to a library release.

“We hope everyone in the community can contribute,” Klein said. “No donation is too small. The library is for everyone in the community and this concept of giving is about community engagement. This is our library and we want Greenwich to get involved. We don’t just want people to make contributions. We want people to talk to us about what they enjoy about the library and hear their stories about that the library means to them.”

Hayley Elmlinger, president of Greenwich Library’s Board of Trustees, said people were excited and eager to connect the community through the Book Bowl.

“Whether you’re a young child who attends Saturday science programs, a teen who prepares for exams in the Jewel, an entrepreneur who uses the extensive business databases or an older adult who enjoys the conversation and companionship of a book club, everyone who enjoys the library can participate,” Elmlinger said. “All donations are welcome. Plus, everyone likes a bit of competition, particularly when it’s for a great cause.”

Signs are going up at all the library’s branches to explain the competition, the website will announced the contest, and email messages will be sent, Klein said.

Klein said Darien was easy to convince to participate in the showdown.

“They loved the idea right away and really responded well to it,” Klein said. “There’s a lot of competition between the towns and this is a competition for a good cause. They are getting behind it.”

Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said the contest was a great idea.

“I think the world of Peter Tesei and the community of Greenwich,” Stevenson said. “Everyone is going to benefit when you have a competition like this which will help support library programming.”

Tesei said he was as ready as his Darien counterpart.

“Public libraries are the bedrock of any community providing enrichment and understanding. I am happy to engage in some friendly competition with my good friend Jayme,” he said. “She is formidable and I am sure we will enjoy the competition because we believe so deeply in the cause.”

kborsuk@scni.com

More Information

How to donate

To support Darien Library, visit darienlibrary.org or contact Cathy McLachlan at 203-669-5220 or cmclachlan@darienlibrary.org. Greenwich Library’s supporters can donate by visiting greenwichlibrary.org and clicking “Support the library.”

Donations for the contest will be accepted until Dec. 31.