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Young reader

Brandon Gerardo reads a book during a past event at Keene Memorial Library in Fremont. 

Wanted: Readers.

Although more people are participating in a Winter Reading Challenge, Keene Memorial Library in Fremont still needs additional readers.

As of Friday morning, 131 people had signed up for the inaugural Beanstack Winter Reading Challenge.

The library’s goal is to have 150 participants of all ages, who each would read 15 minutes a day next month.

Keene is participating in a program designed to get more people reading in January.

And this program could benefit the library financially.

Billionaire investor and Shark Tank personality Mark Cuban has challenged close to 100 libraries across the country — including Keene — and in South Korea to meet a collective goal of reading at least 1 million minutes and 50,000 books in January.

If the collective goal is reached, Cuban has pledged to donate $25,000 to First Book — a nonprofit social enterprise that provides books and learning materials to children in need — along with $10,000 for top-performing libraries to use for their community programs.

The $10,000 would be divided among these top-performing libraries.

Should Keene be chosen as a winner, funds would go to the Friends of Keene Memorial Library to support library programs.

If Keene makes its goal of having 150 people each read 15 minutes per day, it will reach its individual library goal of 69,750 minutes read toward that collective million-minute mark.

Laura England Biggs, children’s librarian at Keene, is encouraging participation so the library can meet its goal.

But there’s an even more important reason.

“If kids see parents reading, they think reading is important and they’ll do their reading — and reading is one of the leading predictors of school success from the studies I’ve seen,” she said. “The more they read, the more they retain.”

There can be hindrances to reading.

“We get busy,” she said. “We don’t make the time for it. People are running here, running there — especially around the holidays.

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“But January tends to be a little quieter time so you could carve out that time for yourself.”

The library has a variety of reading materials.

“We’d really love it if people checked out books, magazines, eBooks, but if you want to read anything you have at home, we’ll count that for this challenge — any books at all,” she said. “We’re looking for 15 minutes a day from each person for the month.”

The program runs from Jan. 1-31 and those interested can sign up throughout the month.

To register, participants can visit keene.beanstack.org or visit the library.

“We have a computer set up if they don’t have Internet at home. You just sign up for an account. It takes just a couple of minutes,” she said.

Those without Internet can come into the library to log their reading each day or keep track and do so at the end of the week.

“It’s really flexible,” England Biggs said.

Readers also can log their reading on their home computers or on their phones.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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