11/20/10 - posted by candis smyk hurlbut
Yes, there was a summer reading contest; I believe there was an age cutoff, which might have been 12. I participated for a few years at the Sunset branch at Irving and 18 Avenue. For several years, we were required to read only travel books. I remember one decades old, and exceptionally boring, book for which the librarian refused to allow me credit--the city and/or regional names were unpronounceable (real tongue twisters), so she assumed I hadn't really read the book. She generously offered to let me renew the book, but I couldn't see the point. As I think about it, I wonder if this was the branch's childrens' librarians' way of forcing us to read books which sat and sat on the shelves year after year.

I never came close to being a winner--except for the last year I participated. The requirements changed (possibly, because fewer and fewer books were read by fewer and fewer participants) to reading the most books, nonfiction and fiction. I enjoyed reading for recreation, and picked up an armload of books each week. That year I won! First Place! I still have the book I won, too: Mystery At Deer Hill. My name was posted as well. My parents thought it was a stupid contest, and were not impressed at all by my 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame. However, some of my friends were surprised and impressed when they saw my name at the top of the winners' list.

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