Donors push reading challenge further

Published 10:48 pm Monday, January 22, 2018

Suffolk citizens have raised the stakes for a citywide reading challenge.

Suffolk Public Library is one of four libraries in Virginia and nearly 100 libraries globally that accepted the Beanstack Winter Reading Challenge sponsored by billionaire investor and “Shark Tank” personality Mark Cuban.

Cuban is challenging these libraries to meet a collective goal of reading at least one million minutes and 50,000 books during the month of January, and Suffolk Public Library began with a goal to read 3,000 books between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31.

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Suffolk residents decided that wasn’t enough, and have pushed to raise that goal by an additional 1,000 books. The group of anonymous donors will donate $3 for each additional book that is read up to $3,000, according to a press release.

One of the anonymous donors said the group consists of Suffolk residents who simply want to encourage reading and support their local library.

“We’re really excited to hear this,” said Angie Sumner, marketing and community relations coordinator for Suffolk Public Library. “It really shows how the community is coming together for this winter reading challenge.”

If the libraries reach their collective goal, Cuban will donate $25,000 to First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books and other essentials to children in need.

He will also donate $10,000 to top-performing libraries for their respective areas or donate to one of their local nonprofits. As of January 18, Suffolk readers have logged more than 2,500 books, according to the press release.

There is still more than a week left to exceed the original 3,000-book goal and put Suffolk Public Library in the running to receive that monetary award, which will go towards a community nonprofit.

Visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com/SuffolkReads or call 514-7150 for more information.