Happy Birthday, West Virginia! Now, ready…set…read!

Happy Birthday, West Virginia! Now, ready…set…read!

Earlier this week I received an intriguing Twitter follow from @WVReads150, a movement of which I was unaware. Turns out that my home state is turning 150 in 2013, and the West Virginia Library Commission, the West Virginia Center for the Book and libraries across the state are launching the “West Virginia Reads 150” challenge in celebration.

Here’s a blurb from the initiative’s website:

The yearlong reading initiative encourages West Virginians to read 150 books in any format (printed book, e-book, downloadable text, etc.) from any source, during the course of 2013, West Virginia’s sesquicentennial year. Books can be on any topic, fiction or non-fiction; they must be read between January 1 and December 31, 2013.

People can read 150 books individually, or create teams to read 150 books collectively. Libraries across West Virginia are encouraged to form teams to compete. Teams, which can have up to 15 members, must choose a name and select a leader to keep track of the books read by team members. 

All ages and groups can participate – friends, coworkers, book clubs, classmates, seniors, etc. If children are too young to read on their own, kids can have their parents read to them. Families can use their Summer Reading Program reading toward their West Virginia Reads 150 tally.

The program is not limited to public libraries – bookstores, school and academic libraries, literacy organizations, youth services providers and more are encouraged to participate in West Virginia Reads 150. 

Personally, I love any good program that encourages reading, but is 150 books too lofty an ambition for an individual reader? Of course! Even writer and voracious reader Joe Queenan only manages around 125. However, he did reach 250 a couple years ago while on a quest to read a book a day.  The team-reading approach is much more manageable, and fun. With a 15-member team, each person need only read 10 books for the year. I’ve never added it up, but that’s probably about what I manage.

Then again, even 10 books are too many for some folks. Chris Brogan touts a Three Book Diet, which my friend Rob is trying (if I ever remember to give him back one of his three books, currently in my possession). The gist of it: choose three books to read for an entire year, over and over. Brogan’s thought is that people tend to rush from book to book, without absorbing much. I can see where he’s coming from. I’m sure Joe Queenan can also!

I’ll be interested to watch the WV Reads 150 campaign unfold in 2013. Will you be joining the movement?

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