Community embraces Berryville library reading challenge

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

When the family of Judy G. Western issued a reading challenge agreeing to donate $1 for every hour read up to 10,000 in the Berryville public library’s summer reading program, little did they know the community would embrace the challenge in such a big way.

The challenge began June 1 and will conclude July 31.

“With two weeks remaining, we are already at over 9,000 hours,” library director Julie Hall said. “And the exciting news is that the Judy G. Western family has agreed to continue to donate $1 per hour read, above and beyond the 10,000 hours, so it’s up to us as to how much we can read and raise by July 31!”

It’s not too late to sign up and begin logging hours. Paper log sheets are available at the library, or hours can be logged electronically on a smart phone or tablet by downloading the free Beanstack App and registering under Berryville Library (AR). The library staff can assist anyone having difficulty signing up. All hours must be logged in by midnight July 31 to count toward the challenge. Acceptable hours are reading books, listening to audio books, reading to others, being read to, or reading from a newspaper, magazine, smart phone, tablet or other electronic device. Reading is great for all ages and helps keep the mind active. For school-age children, it helps reduce the summer reading slide.

 The summer reading program is one of the Berryville Library’s biggest annual programs and this year’s fundraising challenge offered a new twist.  In 2019, more than 6,800 hours were logged throughout the entire summer program.  This year, as of July 15, more than 9,032 hours have already been logged by 258 readers. More than 350 readers have registered for the challenge. Each level, based on age, has reading goals set, and the library, along with area businesses, has donated prizes that are earned when participants reach each goal.  Ages 1-101 are encouraged to participate.

“Our Mom was a social worker and lifelong reader who believed in the power of books and ideas to change the world,” a spokesperson for the Judy G. Western family said. “She would be proud knowing how many in our community, young and old, have embraced this challenge and spent so much time reading this summer. The Western family is honored to be contributing toward this $2.5 million dollar building project and would encourage other families to consider similar challenges for the future.”

During a summer when the community is being encouraged to stay at home, the reading challenge couldn’t be more timely. The Berryville Library is grateful to the Western family and to those who are participating in this year’s challenge.  It’s not too late to sign up and hours can be logged through July 31.

“What a great feeling to be reading for pleasure and also raising money for a new library all at the same time!” Hall said.

The library is open for curbside service six days a week at 104 Spring St., Berryville, Arkansas. For the latest on library hours, services and programs, please visit or call (870) 423-2323.  The Berryville Library also offers active Facebook and Instagram pages.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: