Sykesville among Top 5 Libraries

Penny Sackash, library director at the Sykesville Public Library, stands with the plaque and banner the library received for being in the Top 5 libraries in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

Eric Hrin

SYKESVILLE — A little library has made a big achievement.

Recently, the Sykesville Public Library was notified that it earned special recognition as a “Top Library” in this year’s Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, which ran from May 8 to Sept. 8.

It was number three in the list of the top five libraries nationwide.

The award is based on the amount of minutes for the Scholastic Reading Challenge that were logged by people in the community who use the Sykesville Public Library’s services, according to Josephine Djonovic, associate publicist with Scholastic.

Djonovic said a number of educators from the area participated in the summer reading program, and as part of it, they used the Sykesville Public Library as their home base for logging their minutes for the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

Sykesville Public Library had 61,545 minutes of reading logged. The results can viewed online at

Penny Sackash, the library director at the Sykesville Public Library, said she was “flabbergasted” when she was notified over the phone by someone from Scholastic.

“I said, ‘are you sure you’re right on this?’” she recalled. “I thought it was someone playing a joke.”

The library received a commemorative plaque and a banner for its achievement. In addition, it will be featured in the 2018 Scholastic Book of World Records, according to a news release from Scholastic.

Sackash said she was “kind of stunned” when she heard the news. However, she said that she is “always after the kids to read.” The library has 2,900 patrons in Sykeville and Henderson Township.

“We have some good readers,” she commented.

When informed of the library’s ranking, patrons were also caught off guard and had some questions.

“They’re just stunned, like I am,” Sackash said.

She said those who participated in the program can stop in at the library, and pick up a bracelet and certificate of achievement.

In addition to the Sykesville Public Library, the other libraries who placed were the top finisher, Cobb County Library in Marietta, Ga., with 1,231,910 million minutes, and the second-place finisher, Pickford Community Library in Pickford, Mich., with 235,765 minutes.

Fourth was the Smyrna Public Library in Smyrna, Ga., with 58,248 minutes, and fifth was Horsham Township Library in Horsham, Pa., with 5,490 minutes.

This summer, more than 890,000 children from across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., two U.S. territories and 14 countries read 138,399,392 million minutes in the annual summer reading program, according to Scholastic.

A news release from Scholastic notes that the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is “designed to help kids turn the ‘summer slide’ – the learning loss which can occur over the summer months – into a ‘summer leap’ by discovering the power and joy of reading for fun.”

This year, the theme was “Happy Camper: Take a Reading Adventure.”

The program offered kids the chance to log their reading minutes to earn digital prizes as they completed weekly reading challenges, gaining access to 18 reading activities, including games, quizzes and videos based on popular children’s books, according to the news release. Also, parents and families had access to free summer reading resources.

In addition to the top five public libraries, Scholastic honored the top five community-based organizations that logged the most minutes nationwide. Also, one school from each state with the most minutes read this summer was named “Best in State.” In Pennsylvania, that school was Bridge Valley Elementary School, Furlong, in Bucks County, which logged 1,784,986 minutes.

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