How Well Do Our Librarians Know Books? Here’s a 242,000-Page Answer

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
What makes a good book, one worth checking out? Many of you count on our librarians for guidance. 

Rest assured. They know, firsthand. 

A recent intra-Library reading challenge, highlighting children’s and young-adult titles, underscores that. It drew 84 staff participants, who read nearly a quarter of a million pages – 242,218 – in January and February. As Jamie Mayo, the Library’s assistant director of youth and family engagement put it, that’s “a whole lot of pages.” 

A special shout-out goes to the Trails West Branch. Five staffers there – among them Peggy Karnes, Angie Hattey, Lauren Votava, and Marley Bryant – swept the top five individual finishes, accounting for a third of the pages read across the Kansas City Public Library system. For each of the five, that averaged out to 280 pages … per day

Each of the other 79 entrants read an average of more than 2,020 pages over the two-month youth reading challenge. 


Angie Hattey enjoyed the graphic novel memoir Hey, Kiddo.
Lauren Votova worked her way through the Wings of Fire series.

Peggy Karnes was all about The Virtual Unicorn Experience
and revisting The Witches.
Marley Bryant dove into the visuals of the Mob Psycho 100
graphic novel series.

So, at any of our locations, don’t hesitate to ask for direction on YA, juvenile, or any other genres. Or use our Shelf Help service. Connect with one of the Library’s reading experts by phone or online, tell them a little about yourself and what you like, and they’ll offer titles to match your tastes. 

Meanwhile, here are some of the most popular titles from the youth reading challenge: 


Staff Favorites from the 2021 Youth Reading Challenge


Teen Fiction

Teen fiction remains a favorite of Library staff. Sometimes we hit a vein with a fabulous book that is part of a series. Reading material for days! A good chunk of this list features a couple of those gold mines along with some wonderful stand-alones and a couple from local authors.

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Nonfiction for Kids and Teens

Apparently Library staff needed a little escapism this year. But a few intrepid souls dipped into a smattering of nonfiction good enough to challenge the challenges of a pandemic.

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Children’s Graphic Novels and Manga

There are some seriously good graphic novels for kids. Check out these staff favorites from our challenge. And it doesn't hurt that you can pump up the page count if you're in it to win it.

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Children’s Fiction

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Teen Graphic Novels

Every year whe Library staff challenge each other to read the most pages of books for kids and teens, graphic novels are a top pick — lots of pages with minimal words. We are not above working the angles for the win. (And graphic novels ARE novels.)

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