Read City’s 2024 challenge is a real adventure 

Mary Pom ClaiborneOur Town Readers

With the snowstorm of 2024 almost in the rear-view mirror, we are excited to reopen the library’s doors after 10 days! We’ll open at noon today (1/24/24) to the public with the exception of Corryton and Mascot branch libraries, which will open in their regular schedule. It’s just in time to launch Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ new Read City challenge. This year, we’re taking it to new heights with a fun twist.

The public is invited to join Mayor Jacobs, WBIR’s Robin Wilhoit and the Knoxville Children’s Theatre at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30, at the Historic Bijou Theatre for the big launch as we share stories from real-life explorers. The event is free of charge, but registration is requested. 

This year’s theme, “Adventure begins at your library,” will transport readers of all ages from the ocean floor with guide Jacques Cousteau to the surface of the moon with Neil Armstrong. We’ll be the first to step foot on the North Pole with explorer Matthew Henson and fly the across the skies with Amelia Earhart. We’ll go back in time with frontiersman Davy Crockett, and we’ll climb mountains with our youngest explorer, Sophia Danenberg, who summitted Mount Everest.

All of this fanfare is meant to encourage every member of our community to explore books and reading through our Daring Deeds Adventure Game. Made up of literacy missions, with the completion of five activities, readers will level up and win a trip to the loot box. But the prizes are just the tip of the iceberg.

This year’s challenge goes beyond just reading. The missions also include writing, drawing, creating, listening and exploring. “I am very excited about this year’s approach to the Read City challenge. We’re drawing on a love of gaming and especially games from the late ’70s! It’s a fun way to engage readers,” said Mayor Jacobs.

To pick up a game board, drop by any Knox County Public Library starting on January 30. Participants may also play the game online using the Beanstack Tracker App.

Mayor Jacobs started Read City USA in 2019 with the library to engage and empower our community of parents, educators, caregivers and businesses and institutions to ensure that all children develop of love of reading and learning. Learning to read depends on the entire community supporting schools and illustrating literacy as a core value.

Past challenges include:

  • 250,000-hour goal with the theme “Read to the Moon” (2019)
  • 500,000-hour goal with the theme “Read around the World” (2020)
  • 1,000,000-hour goal with the theme “Animal Tales and Tails” (2021)
  • 1,000,000-hour goal with theme “Oceans of Possibilities” (2022)
  • 1,000,000-hour goal with the theme “All Together Now!” (2023)

We’ve met and exceeded every challenge. This year, we are setting our sights on completing 100,000 literacy missions as our community goal. Join us! It will be a great adventure.

Mary Pom Claiborne is assistant director for marketing, communications and development for Knox County Public Library


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