Join Winter Reading Challenge in Arlington

Arlington sets 9,000 book goal in January.

What could be better than reading and hot chocolate? Arlington Public Library and Alexandria Library have joined a nation-wide Winter Reading Challenge. When the reading challenge is complete, there will be a hot chocolate celebration party on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. at the Central Library in Arlington. Arlington and Alexandria are two of 100 libraries nationwide and in South Korea and four libraries in Virginia participating in this event.

Readers of all ages are invited to read and log three or more books between Jan. 1-31. The goal is for Arlington to read at least 9,000 books. If readers read 50,000 books nationwide, Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban will donate $25,000 to First Book, an organization that provides new books and learning materials to children in need.

Cuban has challenged the libraries to meet a collective goal of reading at least one million minutes and 50,000 books during the month of February. In addition to donating $25,000 to First Book, Cuban has pledged to give $10,000 to top performing libraries for their community programs or to donate to local nonprofit organizations. Cuban says his mother used to give him 25 cents for every book he read.

The libraries will use Beanstack, a software program that makes it easy to track the amount of time and books read. Participants may register online or in person at any library location.

On Jan. 3, 162 books had been recorded in Arlington with only 8,838 to go. Books already tallied up range from "Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons," to "Salt, fat, acid, heat: mastering the art of good cooking," to "The Formative Years of Relativity: The History and Meaning of Einstein's Princeton Lectures."

Julia Karell, program and partnership manager, said, "Winter Reading supports lifelong learning and serves as a great community builder."

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