Librarians drop the gloves in bookish battles during Winnipeg Jets playoff run

The Winnipeg Public Library has channelled a love for the written word into good-spirited off-ice chirping, trash talking libraries in rival NHL cities on the Jets behalf.

Winnipeg Public Library takes to Twitter to trash talk colleagues in rival cities

The Winnipeg Public Library has been instigating Twitter wars with libraries in rival NHL cities this playoff season. (Winnipeg Public Library/Twitter)

It was the prolific writer Henry David Thoreau who once described the library as a "great wilderness of books," and this NHL playoff season Winnipeg librarian Monique Woroniak has plumbed the depths of that wilderness for a way to say what's on all Jets' fans minds.

She and a colleague at the Winnipeg Public Library have channelled a love for the written word into good-spirited off-ice chirping, trash-talking libraries in rival NHL cities on Twitter on the Jets' behalf.

"I think many, many, many people are already interested in libraries," said Woroniak, a public information librarian. "Obviously we've seen the follows and the likes and everything go up on our social media."

Monique Woroniak has been smack-talking libraries in rival NHL cities this playoff season on Twitter. (Bryce Hoye/CBC)

Woroniak got the idea from the Toronto Public Library, which flamed the Kansas City Public Library on Twitter during the 2015 Major League Baseball playoffs.

It started with some gentle, arguably more cerebral smack talk in the first-round series against the Wild.

Woroniak called out the St. Paul and Hennepin County libraries in Minnesota with pictures of cleverly stacked book titles that played up Winnipeg.


Then things got real; barbs were exchanged.

The Jets went on to tame the Wild in five games, prompting this slight against Minnesota — and children's author Maurice Sendak's famous read, Where the Wild Things Are.


It marked the end of the season for Minnesota, but not for Woroniak.

She and colleagues next roasted the Nashville Public Library in the hard-fought second round series against the Predators.


The Jets ousted the Predators in Game 7, and Woroniak turned her attention to Round 3. The Las Vegas Clark-Country Library is currently in her crosshairs as the Jets take on the Vegas Golden Knights.

Woroniak's opening salvo in each of the three series so far has generally been lighter in tone: she tags the relevant library with an invitation to "some library Twitter face-offs."

Things usually escalate as the series unfolds, but Las Vegas Clark-Country Library's first tweet — a picture of a book titled Hockey: How it Works — was rather rude.


"We were happy that they went a little less polite right away because it's actually easier," Woroniak laughed, saying she prefers to drop the gloves and pleasantries right off the hop.

One of the latest shots at Vegas came Wednesday. One of Woroniak's colleagues issued a bilingual barb about how the Jets were going to take Game 3.


Winnipeg lost and trails Vegas 2-1 heading into Game 4 Friday at T-Mobile Arena. Woroniak and others at the Winnipeg Public Library will be tuning in.

Though the final outcome of the Jets' playoff run is yet to be determined, Woroniak said she's happy people on Twitter seem to be taking notice of all the library activity.

"For some people who haven't engaged in libraries for some time, it probably goes a long way toward busting some stereotypes," she said. "Like, I do have a bun in my hair, but I like to think I wear it ironically."

The Jets are back in Winnipeg for Game 5 on Sunday.

About the Author

Bryce Hoye

Reporter

Bryce Hoye is an award-winning journalist and science writer with a background in wildlife biology. Before joining CBC Manitoba, he worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service monitoring birds in Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia and Alberta. Story idea? Email bryce.hoye@cbc.ca.

With files from Samantha Samson

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