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Knox County Public Library sets goal of 1 million reading hours

In 2021, library spokesperson Mary Pom Claiborne hopes Knox County residents will consider 'reading more' as a New Year's resolution

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — In 2020, Knox County readers took a journey around the world, collecting stamps and reading books from countries far away to surpass the 2020 Read City USA goal of 500,000 hours. 

"That equates to 20 times around the world in 2020. So, we thought that was really good. We were a little worried about reaching the goal, but by golly, we made it. We actually exceeded our goal by 137,000, hours," said Mary Pom Claiborne, communications director for Knox County Public Library. 

In 2021, the goal is far bigger: one million hours. 

"It is a big jump. So, we had over 6,000 accounts on Beanstack. We need to grow that to over 8,000 accounts, so we need 2,000 more people to join the crusade," Claiborne said, referring to an app that people can download to track their reading hours. 

Library locations will also have activity books where people can write down their reading activity throughout the year. 

"Each region has a little puzzle with it, so it's just fun. And, if you read 10 hours a month, which breaks down to 20 minutes a day, then you can get a sticker. Then, in the end, you'll get a little goodie bag prize," Claiborne said, adding that the theme for 2021 is 'Tails and Tales' and features animals in various habitats around the world.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs will officially kick off the 2021 Read City USA season with a 10 a.m. Wednesday Facebook LIVE event. 

Claiborne said that even though January has just started, several hundred hours have already been logged.