Nearly halfway, Suffolk keeps on reading

Published 10:27 pm Tuesday, January 14, 2020

With the second half of January to go, Suffolk readers have helped their city library get very close to the halfway mark of their goal for Beanstack’s third annual Winter Reading Challenge.

The library is participating in the reading challenge through Jan. 31, during which readers can track and log books that they read using the Beanstack platform. The goal for the library’s “Suffolk Reads” challenge was raised this year, and the Suffolk community is currently tasked with reading and logging 9,000 books this January.

According to Suffolk Public Library Communications Coordinator Angie Sumner, slightly more than 4,000 books have been logged as of Monday, thanks to some “pretty avid” reading individuals, families at library storytime sessions, and other helpful participants.

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“It looks like as of now our biggest readers are coming from classes and storytimes,” Early Childhood Services Senior Librarian April Watkins stated in an email. “Most of our library customers are averaging 10 books logged, which is pretty incredible! It’s not just kids either. Our adults are logging that much! I’m really impressed with how the community is coming together to read this month.”

According to, only books logged from Jan. 1-31 will count towards the completion goal. Paper logs will also be available at each Suffolk Public Library branch for those that do not want to log electronically.

Suffolk Public Library was one of the top-participating libraries in the competition in each of the past two years. This year, Penguin Random House is donating $50,000 worth of prizes to be split among winning libraries and schools, which will include new books and an author visit.

Participants may log any books, audiobooks and magazines they have finished during the month of January. They are also encouraged to share what they’re reading on social media with the hashtags “#WinterRead2020” and “#SuffolkPublicLibrary,” and by tagging Zoobean and Penguin Random House in their social media posts.

Participants who read and log books will be entered to win a raffle prize. There will be three total winners, consisting of one from each age group: ages 0 to 7, 8 to 17, and 18 and older.

Readers will receive one entry per book logged, and the winners will select their prize from a list of items and experiences. This includes gift cards for Regal Cinemas, Virginia Symphony Orchestra or VISA; family zoo, Nauticus, or Children’s Museum memberships; Osmo and a Kindle Fire; or a “staycation package,” according to

Those who complete the “Diverse Books Challenge” in Beanstack — reading books outside of a reader’s usual genre — will be entered to win a shopping spree at the Friends of the Suffolk Public Library bookstore, as well.

Participants are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to any Suffolk Public Library branch this January, which will help stock Suffolk Christian Fellowship’s food pantry.

Teachers can create group accounts for their class in Beanstack, or keep track of their reading on a print log and return it to the library by Feb. 3. The Suffolk class with the greatest number of books read and logged will receive a pizza party, featuring an appearance by “Tux,” Suffolk Public Library’s Winter Reading penguin mascot, plus a set of Magnatiles.

Suffolk Public Library will hold “Penguin Appreciation Storytime” on Jan. 25 at the North Suffolk Library, with crafts and a special visit from Tux to help encourage readers to reach their goal.

The library will also hold a “Tailgate Party” on Jan. 30 at both Morgan Memorial and North Suffolk libraries, which will have plenty of family-friendly, sports-themed crafts and activities.

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