Library challenges readers this summer

Published 10:32 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Suffolk Public Library will launch its Camp SPL Summer Reading Challenge on Saturday, and there’s a colorful celebration in store for the Suffolk community — but only if it can reach the library’s 14,000-book goal by Aug. 3.

Everyone is eligible to participate in the Summer Reading Challenge, and a library card is not required to participate. School-aged kids may check off books from their summer reading lists, and adults can make progress with their beachside reading, according to the press release.

All ages can participate by logging books through Beanstack, the same online platform that the library has used for its Winter Reading Challenge. Participants may log in with their existing accounts to join the Summer Reading Challenge or create new ones if they don’t have an existing one.

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“The heart of the Summer Reading Challenge is community engagement,” Elementary Services Senior Librarian Deborah Ward wrote in an email. “It is facilitating the excitement of the community coming together for a common goal around reading. We have seen great success over the last two years with winter and summer challenges. The community has logged over 36,000 books over three challenges in what equates to just a few months!”

If the community reads and logs 14,000 books in time, then everyone will be able to enjoy a “Color Blast” at the Camp SPL Grand Finale Carnival that will be held on Aug. 3.

“There will be lots of colored powder that everyone will be able to join in and toss into the air together,” Ward wrote, adding that participants should wear something white so that they get properly tinged. “The mingling of colors in the air will spread happiness and cheer,” she continued. “Last year, the community goal was sliming staff members, but only three people got to have that experience.

“This year, we are inviting the community to experience the Color Blast, since the community will make the reading goal together.”

Thanks to Friends of the Suffolk Public Library, the library is able to offer another incentive to readers — or rather a selection of incentives.

Participants in the Summer Reading Challenge will earn one raffle ticket per book read and logged, with three age groups of prizes: ages 0 to 7, 8 to 17 and 18 and older.

One winner will be chosen in each age group and will be able to select from a list of prizes, including a Virtual Reality Oculus Go Headset, Nauticus and Virginia Living Museum annual passes and other selections worth roughly $225 each.

“Everyone can earn buttons for the first eight titles logged and a bumper sticker for registering for the challenge,” Ward wrote.

There will also be a robust social media effort for the Summer Reading Challenge, according to Ward, part of which will be everyone voting for their favorite cabin.

Library staff members will present five different cabins, each with different personas, mascots and two co-counselors. Think of it like the different “Harry Potter” houses, Ward said. The winning cabin’s counselors will open the Color Blast during the Camp SPL Grand Finale Carnival this August.

The Beanstack App can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. For more information about the Summer Reading Challenge, other Camp SPL events can be found at