Read City USA closing in on goal

Mary Pom ClaiborneOur Town Students

Back in January, Mayor Glenn Jacobs challenged the community to read and log a collective 1 million hours as part of his Read City USA initiative. It seemed a lofty goal, but we’re in the final stretch with 816,000 hours under our belt and two and half months to go. There are several ways to join the challenge: log online with the Beanstack Tracker App, download or pick up a paper log and return it to any Knox County Public Library or simply tell library staff how many hours you’ve read, and they’ll log for you.

The mayor’s reading initiative is now in its third year with progressively bigger goals. He started the program to support the schools in fostering a culture of reading for the whole family. With the third grade reading rate at less than 40% mastery and the detrimental impact of Covid-19, the challenge is designed to get everyone involved in promoting reading. Learning to read well is one of the most important indicators to finding success in school and in life.

The theme of this year’s reading challenge is Animal Tails and Tales. Participants can pick up a Field Guide at any Knox County library location and earn stickers and prizes for reading hours. The field guides have activities based on various habitats and are available to readers of all ages. There are printable crafts that go with each habitat as well as reading suggestions – fiction and non-fiction.

More than 5,000 individual readers plus dozens of groups are actively participating in the challenge. It’s not too late to join and help us meet the million-hour goal.

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library. She writes a Wednesday feature for

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