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Winter reading challenge heats up

Readers have crossed the halfway point for the Suffolk Public Library’s target for the Beanstack Winter Reading Challenge this January.

According to Community Relations Coordinator Angie Sumner, 4,873 books have been logged as of Thursday afternoon towards the library’s 8,000-book goal. Community Services Librarian Matt Thompson said time is running short.

“The heat is on, (and we) can’t quit now. It’s time to stand and deliver,” Thompson said.

The library is competing in the second annual Beanstack Winter Reading Challenge this January, which is once again held by software company Zoobean and “Shark Tank” billionaire investor Mark Cuban.

Cuban is challenging 250 schools and libraries across the country to meet a collective goal of reading for at least 5 million minutes and 75,000 books this month, more than double the number of school and library challengers last year, according to the press release.

Cuban has pledged to donate $35,000 to the top-performing libraries and schools if this goal is achieved. Suffolk Public Library was one of last year’s finalists and received $1,500 from Cuban and Beanstack for being one of the top book-logging libraries.

“We won a share of the national prize last year based on our excellence in surpassing our goal, and we’re defending our title as national champions,” Thompson said. “We’re counting on the Suffolk community to step up to the plate and defend (our) title.”

Participating libraries will use Zoobean’s web and mobile application Beanstack to log reading time and books in January. Paper logs will also be available at each Suffolk Public Library location for those that don’t wish to log electronically.

Furthermore, If the January goal is met in time, Friends of the Suffolk Library will donate $1,000 for the library to purchase new technology that will be unveiled at the “Flip the Switch” event on Jan. 26 at North Suffolk Library. But only if the goal is met by Jan. 25, according to Sumner.

“We’re keeping that a surprise,” she said.

Community members will also receive an entry into a grand prize drawing for every book logged. The grand prize will be a shopping spree at the Friends of the Suffolk Library bookstore.

There will be a total of three winners, one from each of the following age groups: kids ages 6 to 11, teens ages 12 to 17 and adults ages 18 and older. Children ages 5 and younger will be eligible to win a tech-themed literacy fun pack.

Visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com/SuffolkReads for more information on the challenge, prizes and how to register and log books.