The holidays are over and the New Year is approaching. 2020 taught us a lot about each other and ourselves. We learned to knit, work from home, use Zoom, be alone and cook banana bread. We also learned how diverse we are. Not all of us were built the same, look the same, or even see things the same way. We all dealt with this tumultuous year in different ways; some struggled while others thrived. Everyone has their own story.
It can seem quite lonely at times when we are so disconnected. That is why books are such an important part of our lives. When I was a child, I thought there was no one like me. I was short, loud and a red-head. I found more solace in my books than I did at school or with friends. My sanctuary was the library where I could find books that taught me new things and introduced me to faraway worlds and people. In books, I found people who were going through the same things as me. Books let me know that I was not alone.
Even when sitting in our living rooms, we can find ourselves in another country, connecting with a character, making some new “friends” as we explore a world we may not be so familiar with or maybe one that seems eerily familiar.
With the New Year comes new hope. Hope that we can appreciate each other for our differences. Hope that we can find a way to connect and flourish.
To celebrate and encourage those differences we have a new challenge for you on our site, botetourtva.beanstack.org. From January 1 to January 31, Botetourt County Libraries will participate in Beanstack’s Fourth Annual Winter Reading Challenge Books Like Us, sponsored by Simon & Shuster.
Books Like Us is a celebration of diversity, harnessing the transformative power of seeing oneself reflected in a book. Explore books from authors spanning an array of diverse backgrounds. Get introduced to new cultures and views that are sure to open your eyes so you can form connections.
As with past challenges, you can keep track of the minutes you read throughout the month of January. Help us reach our community goal of 10,000 minutes read.
There are officially over 2,000 schools and libraries across the nation signed up for this challenge. They will encourage their communities to read a target number of minutes and books as well. Top-performing libraries and schools will earn rewards from Simon & Shuster, including book collections and virtual author visits.
We are confident that Botetourt County can exceed the 10,000 minutes and help us bring new books into your libraries. If you don’t already have an account with Beanstack, be sure to sign up today at botetourtva.beanstack.org and help make a difference in your community. For those participating, remember to use #BocoLibraries, #BooksLikeUs and #WinterRead2021 when you tag us in your posts.
Happy New Year and happy reading, Botetourt County!
Eagle Rock Librarian