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Library wins its fourth Winter Reading Challenge

As Suffolk stayed quarantined from the pandemic and dreary weather, the community read an impressive amount of books.

During the month of January, the Annual Winter Reading Challenge dared Suffolk to hold its winning title for its fourth year. The Suffolk Public Library was one of six winners across the country, with 385 registered readers logging around 8,500 books.

“We have a community goal set every year, and it’s fun to make a competition of it,” said Megan Mulvey, the community engagement manager for the Suffolk Public Library. “It’s primarily to see what we can do and read, and every year we amaze ourselves at what we were able to accomplish.”

For being the winner, the Suffolk Public Library will have a virtual visit from an author as well as receive their books to give out. There is no announcement on who the guest author is yet. Last year, the library held a virtual mixer with author Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and received her books “Two Naomis” and “The Hero Next Door.”

Along with the library, there were also lucky individual winners who chose from a selection of quarantine-friendly prizes. Two chose a year of Netflix, while the third winner chose a new pair of Beats headphones.

“We tried to come up with ideas for fun quarantine-related prizes,” said Matt Thompson, the community engagement librarian and the team lead for this year’s Winter Reading Challenge. “We wanted to offer something useful for them as they’re stuck at home.”

Two classrooms also won for their classroom participation. Birgit Kueppers’ fifth-grade class at Elephant’s Fork Elementary won first place. Kueppers received a gift certificate from Teachers Pay Teachers. Her class will have a visit from a professional storyteller over Zoom to read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and then demonstrate how to make a chocolate milkshake. Second place went to Tiffany Jones’ first-grade class at Hillpoint Elementary, who received enough books from Scholastic for each student to take home one novel and one picture book.

The Library is excited to have much more planned in the months. “See You at the Library” is another reading challenge with Beanstack to log books read from a diversity of characters that reflect the reader’s identity and different ones. Of course, the Summer Reading Challenge is already in the planning stages, so visit suffolkpubliclibrary.com or its Facebook page to stay updated on the latest happenings.