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Reading challenge crushed ahead of time

Suffolk readers crossed the finish line late Monday evening with the last batch of books needed for the Camp Suffolk Public Library Summer Reading Challenge.

Readers have been logging their latest reads since June 16 with a goal of reading 8,000 books by Aug. 4. The Suffolk community logged 8,184 books as of Tuesday morning and counting, according to Community Relations Coordinator Angie Sumner.

Readers have been tracking their progress with Beanstack, the same online platform used in the Winter Reading Challenge held by software company Zoobean and “Shark Tank” billionaire investor Mark Cuban. Readers crushed the 3,000-book goal in the winter challenge and carried the same enthusiasm to library stacks this summer.

“I think it’s awesome,” Sumner said in a phone interview. “It’s great that we have so many people excited about reading in our community.”

As part of their reward for beating their reading deadline, participants are now voting on which three Suffolk Public Library staff members will get slimed at the Grand Finale Carnival that will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 4 at the vacant lot at the corner of West Washington and Lee streets.

Votes will be cast online at the Camp SPL Summer Challenge landing page and the Suffolk Public Library Facebook page with an album of the “potential sliming victims,” including “Most Wanted” photos. There will be paper ballots at each of the library locations, Sumner said.

Readers are encouraged to keep logging on Beanstack or through paper logging options at library branches leading up to the Grand Finale Carnival. Each logged book is worth a raffle ticket for the grand prize provided by the Friends of the Suffolk Public Library.

One winner will choose a grand prize worth up to $500. The list includes a one-night stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg; an annual family membership to the Virginia Zoo, Children’s Museum of Virginia and Virginia Aquarium; a fitness bundle with a Planet Fitness membership for two; a Williamsburg Winery visit and stay for two; or a Suffolk staycation package.

“The competition isn’t over yet,” Sumner said. “We still have a grand prize on the line.”

Visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com/CampSPL or facebook.com/SuffolkPublicLibrary for more information.