It all started last Fall, when we received a call from Zoobean, the creators of the Beanstack reading app, congratulating us on being chosen as charitable donation recipients for the Winter Reading Challenge 2018. Naturally, we were surprised and excited. More than 100 libraries all over the United States and in South Korea were challenged by billionaire investor and Shark Tank personality Mark Cuban to meet a collective goal of reading at least 1.3 million minutes and 55,000 books during the month of January. If achieved, Cuban would give $10,000 to top-performing libraries to use for their community programs or donate to nonprofit organizations in their area, as well as donate $25,000 to a nonprofit of the librarian’s choice.
… And they chose us!
You know how much we love libraries – and we are so honored to feel the love right back!
These hardworking librarians took the reading challenge head-on. They rallied their readers to give back to children in need, cheering them on with every page turned. Happily, we followed their reading progress on social media:
— Keene Mem. Library (@KeeneMemLib) January 26, 2018
— Crandall Library (@CrandallLibrary) January 26, 2018
Thanks to all who participated in the Winter Reading Challenge this January! Because of you, we read 1654 books – passing our original goal by more than 400 books. Way to go, Plainfield! #WinterRead2018 pic.twitter.com/ksH33tavzx
— Plainfield Library (@PPLD1) February 2, 2018
— Montclair Library (@MontclairLib) February 2, 2018
Way to go, Winter Reading Champs! We exceeded our goal with a final result of 2,057 books read in 31 days! Thank you for your dedication to literacy and participating in our Winter Reading Challenge! #WinterRead2018 pic.twitter.com/72FpeB1Wjc
— Sarasota Co. Library (@scgovLibrary) February 1, 2018
— MacDonald Library (@MPLNewBaltimore) February 1, 2018
Of course, the challenged libraries not only reached the ambitious goal of 1.3 million minutes read, but surpassed it six times over! In total, library patrons logged 6,989,596 minutes reading 84,002 books. Zoobean added another $1,500 to Cuban’s donation, making the grand total donation to First Book & community programs $36,500!
We are amazed by the incredible dedication of the librarians and library patrons that participated in the 2018 Winter Reading Challenge, and their determination to do all they can to provide more books to those that need them and grow more readers.
We extend multitudes of gratitude to Mark Cuban and Zoobean for creating the Winter Read Challenge, every librarian that supported the program, and every reader that took it!