Grant To Provide Cash Prizes For Top Teen Readers

SNOW HILL – A grant award will allow the Worcester County Library to dole out a combined $1,000 in prizes to teen readers.

Last month, the Worcester County Library was selected as a recipient of a $1,000 Beanstack Black Voices Microgrant. Assistant Director Rachael Stein said the funds will be used as prizes for a new Teen Reading Challenge on Beanstack.

“They offered a number of these grants to library systems around the country,” she said. “It’s basically to promote reading programs that expose kids to books by diverse authors.”

Stein said the library typically partners with Beanstack – a reading software and mobile app – to power reading challenges, including its Summer Reading Program.

This year, the library will also use Beanstack for its new Teen Reading Challenge.

“The grant is for $1,000, and we decided to use that for two grand prize gift cards of $500 each as a really big incentive to get teens to participate in this program …,” Stein said. “Every time they read a book they earn an entry into a raffle for these gift cards.”

As part of the Teen Reading Challenge, participating teens will select books to read by authors from a variety of backgrounds, highlighting the rich diversity of the American experience. Each book they read will earn them a chance to win one of two $500 grand prizes.

The challenge will last throughout 2021, and the prizes will be awarded at the end of the year.

“The scholar Rudine Sims Bishop famously said that books for young readers should be both mirrors and windows,” Stein said. “They should reflect the experiences of the reader and also provide a glimpse into unfamiliar cultural worlds. The aim of this project is to offer teens those mirrors and windows, and to encourage them to look into as many new worlds as they can.”

In addition to the reading challenge, Stein said participants can also earn entries into the raffle by joining virtual discussions.

The library will host a monthly discussion program on Zoom, where teens can meet, share book recommendations and talk about the books they are reading.

“They get an entry for every book they read,” she said, “and they get an entry with any book discussion they join.”

For more information, or to register for the program, visit

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.