Lisa Beal has been reading her whole life. Growing up, the Roanoke County native was regularly encouraged by her parents to expand her horizons and deepen her thought process. Throughout high school, Lisa says she was more likely to explore a Judy Blume novel than spend money on name brand clothes. Last month, she heard about the Salem Public Library Adult Reading Challenge. Toni Morrison is one of the most celebrated authors of all time, according to Lisa, and three of her books – The Bluest Eyes, Song of Solomon and God Help the Child – are all selections Lisa chose to complete her challenge.
Last year, the Adult Reading Challenge was offered on a Bingo board, and approximately 100 people participated. “This fall, we have a Monopoly board, with each color on the board representing a different type of challenge,” Library Director Ann Tripp said. “The challenges range from ‘read a book published the year you graduated high school’ to ‘read a book with your favorite color as the cover.’
When you read a book from a certain color of the board, you get one entry into different drawings for gift cards. If you complete the entire board (11 books), you’re entered to win an IPad Mini.” Senior Librarian Cheryl Price noted that the Adult Reading Challenge was created to “provide an opportunity for patrons to branch out of their usual reading habits and make reading fun again.” “Our mission is to help our patrons connect with ideas, materials and experiences that expand their lives,” Price added. “Programs like the Adult Reading Program inject both a little fun and a little competition into something our patrons already enjoy – reading – and also provide a small incentive for those who may find it hard to make the time to pick up a book.” After agreeing to participate in the reading challenge, John Stone received an encouraging letter from his 12-yearold son Desmond. In part, it read: “I think it’s cool that you are doing this dad! I look forward to sitting beside you at the dinner table and also reading some books.”
Not since high school has Jermaine Smith been asked to read multiple books within a certain time frame. The father of two agreed to participate in the reading challenge to foster an appreciation of learning in his children.
“Reading has been proven to reduce stress, improve concentration and strengthen one’s memory,” Smith said. “It’s my job as a parent to lead by example, and I think that I am doing just that here.” “We want folks to read. And we want the ones who already do read to try something else. There are so many books that never reach the New York Times Bestseller List, but are well written and tell a good story,” Price said. “The Adult Reading Challenge runs through November 17, so there’s plenty of time to try new books and get entered for great prizes.”