• 82°

Suffolk keeps its Winter Reading throne

The Suffolk Public Library held on to its throne as one of top Beanstack Winter Reading Challenge competitors for a second year in a row.

The challenge was held once again by software company Zoobean and “Shark Tank” billionaire investor Mark Cuban. Cuban challenged 250 schools and libraries across the country to meet a collective goal of reading for at least 5 million minutes and 75,000 books in January.

Cuban pledged to donate $35,000 to the top-performing libraries and schools if this was accomplished, and competitors nationwide more than doubled both benchmarks collectively in January, with more than 13 million minutes of reading and 153,000 books, according to an announcement by Zoobean.

Suffolk Public Library was ranked as one of the 40 top libraries in this nationwide competition, with 9,916 books read throughout the month of January.

Community Relations Coordinator Angie Sumner said it feels “fantastic” for the Suffolk community to win back-to-back, especially with more than twice as many competitors as last year’s inaugural event.

“We were confident in the community’s excitement and commitment to the challenge this year,” she said. “There were more libraries this year participating, (so) we had a larger challenge to maintain our championship title, but despite that we came out as one of the top libraries. That’s something to be proud of.”

The library was notified on Monday that it would receive $1,000 in funding as one of the top competitors. Sumner could not confirm exactly what this funding will be used for as of Tuesday, but it will likely be for more technology at Suffolk Public Library branches.

She attributed this year’s success to the enthusiasm of Suffolk readers, who plowed through to read and log as many books as they could this past January, carried by the momentum of last year’s win.

“That was something to strive for again, and then to just have so many people support us by reading and logging their books,” she said. “(Also,) our staff were really excited, and they played a big part in sharing that excitement with other people.”