Contest offers books to libraries

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 9, 2008

In a few weeks’ time, 100,000 children’s books are going to begiven away to five states around the country, and Lawrence CountySchool District Job Training Supervisor Brenda Stormo is rallyingher fellow Mississippians to take their best shot at being one ofthe recipients.

“I don’t know if Mississippi will get any books, but I want thestate to be high on the list,” she said.

The chances are looking better each day, however. Mississippi isgaining momentum in the contest which is a national, joint programby Cheerios and actor/author John Lithgow. The state has risen from22nd place at the start of the Cheerios Book Donation Challenge tothe 10th spot as of this week.

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If the state places in the top five in the contest, then 20,000children’s books written by Lithgow will be shipped fordistribution around needy areas of the state.

Strangely, Stormo said, school libraries are not eligible toreceive the books. Public libraries and non-profit organizationsare, however, and Stormo said Southwest Mississippi qualifies as aneedy area.

“The purpose of this contest is to get these books todisadvantaged areas,” she said. “This would be free books for ourchildren.”

The contest is a simple one. Contestants may go online to take a quiz based on Lithgow’sbooks. There are hundreds of questions, said Stormo – who hasdiligently taken the test several times – and each correct answercounts as one vote for Mississippi. There is no log-in, no passwordand no tracking software – the test can be taken over and over toincrease the state’s chances by clicking the “Answer MoreQuestions!” button on the right-hand side of the page.

For those that know nothing about Lithgow’s childrens’ books,Stormo says, “don’t worry.”

“You can still get the answers; it’s not tough,” she said. “Igot more than half of the questions right when I took it, and youcan go back and keep on taking it.”

Stormo said she is constantly asked how many votes Mississippineeds to move up the list. There is no set number of votes, shesaid – just vote.

The deadline for voting in the contest is June 15. For moreinformation on the Cheerios Book Donation Challenge, contact theLincoln and Lawrence county public libraries at 601-833-3369 and601-587-2471, respectively.