World Cup 101 @ Skokie Public Library

By on

by Mikael "Mick" Jacobsen, Adult Services Librarian with Toby Greenwalt, Virtual Services Coordinator, Skokie Public Library, Illinois

On June 10th, 2010, the eve of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, I (Mick Jacobsen) presented World Cup 101 to Skokie Public Library patrons. Attendees came interested in an introduction to the greatest sporting event on Earth, and, perhaps more importantly, learned how better to understand and enjoy the Beautiful Game.

A review of the rules of soccer (football to the rest of the world), including that pesky offsides rule, how nations from each continent qualify, the history, and how the World Cup works were covered in varying degrees of depth.

The heart of the presentation was a brief description of each of the 32 teams, followed by my prediction of which countries would most likely move on to the single elimination rounds.  England, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, and the USA were all highlighted.  The players Clint Dempsey of the USA, Wayne Rooney of England, Kaka of Brazil, Lionel Messi of Argentina, Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast, Frank Ribery of France, Diego Forlan of Uruguay and a few others were mentioned as ones to keep an eye on. Online destinations to watch the matches, soccer pubs in the area, and good blogs rounded out the program.  A lively question and answer session followed the speech.

An online Pick'em league, hosted by Yahoo!, was started for Skokie residents and library friends.  Nineteen people signed up with sixteen remembering to submit picks.  Currently (as of 6/20/10) I, the supposed expert, reside in thirteenth place... sigh. 

In the end fun was had by all and a few new soccer fanatics were created.

Skokie is home to an increasingly international population, and continues to become more so. Over 90 different languages and dialects are spoken in Village households, and the Library maintains print and audio-visual collections for over 18 world languages. As the Library works to provide resources for the growing number of immigrants and refugees, it is important to find programs with true global appeal. While we continue to offer resources to aid with citizenship and more serious issues, it’s also important to establish the organization as a place for entertainment and community space. The World Cup has given us a prime opportunity to do just that.

Follow Mick Jacobsen on Twitter

Learn more about Skokie Public Library and its programs at