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Rise to the challenge with your local library

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Photo submitted Delta County Library employee Leah Morris paired her passion for running with a desire to give back to her community by raising money for her favorite local organization. She hopes that sharing her experience will encourage others to parti

The theme of summer programming at Delta County Libraries for 2017 is a call to action for the entire county. Libraries aim to build better readers, better communities, and ultimately a better world through their programming this summer, but they cannot accomplish the goal without community participation.

"We are hoping to take the theme, 'Build a Better World,' to the next level by offering a countywide challenge," says assistant district director, LaDonna Gunn. "The group challenge is part of our adult summer program, but participation is open to everyone. Families, co-workers and friends of all ages can partner up to make a difference in their community."

The concept is basic and it is easy to get involved. Interested participants will form a team of three or more people and decide on a service-based project to complete within their community. The teams will document their progress through writing, photos or other media, and submit the results to their local library.

"Each library will judge its entries and choose a winner for that community," Gunn explains. "The overall impact of the project as well as the quality of the submitted results will be considered during judging. The five selected teams will move on to be judged at the district level for one Delta County winner." The libraries will promote each winning team as local heroes, as well as nominating the countywide winner for a national award.

Leah Morris, collections and systems administrator for Delta County Libraries, is excited about the challenge and hopes that people will get involved. Morris recently issued a challenge of her own for her 40th birthday. She is an avid runner and decided to combine her passion to run with a cause that was meaningful to her.

Friends, family and supportive community members made pledges per mile as Morris ran as far as she could on May 21. Accompanied by bicyclists and other runners, she ran 28 miles and raised over $2,400 for the Western Slope Conservation Center. "I was happy to realize that making an impact in my community doesn't have to involve picking up trash or going to meetings or doing other less-than-desirable activities," Morris says.

"It just took a little creative thinking to come up with a way to support an organization that was important to me and do something I love at the same time. Because I was so excited about my run, I felt like others were drawn in to participate and give me great support. The whole experience was a thrilling experiment in what a person can accomplish with a little planning and a lot of enthusiasm."

Morris hopes that her experience might inspire others to participate in the group challenge in a similar way. Each library has a list of ideas for projects unique to that community, or, like Morris, participants can devise a plan of their own.

The challenge runs June 5 through July 15. For more information and to register for the challenge, stop by your local library or visit www.

deltalibraries.org, "Summer Reading," then "Group Challenge."

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