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  • Laure Hershman

Challenge Accepted: Staff Reading Challenges

Updated: Jan 4

Have you been interested in some of these reading challenges that you keep hearing about? In this post, you will learn about some of the different ways to keep track of books and some of the fun reading challenges available to you.

Goodreads 2021 Reading Challenge "I want to read "blank" books in 2021

My favorite challenge is the Goodreads Challenge. At the beginning of the year, you choose a number of books that you would like to read and keep track of them through the Goodreads website. My personal challenge this year was to read 50 books, and I am on track to read 52, maybe more. Goodreads will keep track of what you have read, show you if you are ahead or behind schedule, and give you the percentage of where you are at in your challenge. At the end of the year, it will give you your “year in review” - it will show the longest and shortest book you read, the most and least popular books that you read, along with a few other fun facts. You can also link your challenge to your social media to show others how much of a bookworm you are.

Some other challenges you can participate in are:

  • 52 books in 52 weeks, where you will read a book every week in the year or the equivalent of that

  • TBR (to be read challenge) where you will pull from your pile that you have been meaning to read but haven’t.

  • Read the Alphabet Challenge, a monthly challenge where you read books that start with specific letters.

  • The Purrfect Reading Challenge, read books that have cats as main characters.

2021 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge

  • Popsugar Reading Challenge, read books that meet 40 random, fun, and interesting prompts.

  • Out of Your Comfort Zone Challenge, the aim of this challenge is to read books that you consider to be outside of your comfort zone.

  • This challenge should be an easy one for those of you who are avid library users: Library Love, the goal is to read at least 12 books from the library.

  • A to Z Reading Challenge, a year-long reading challenge that encourages readers to choose a book starting with each letter of the alphabet.

  • Here is a link to other challenges you might find interesting.

Did you know that the library has its own reading challenges that are available to anyone, and you could win some cool prizes if you finish? The Ultimate Book Nerd Challenge is something we created last year. It gives you 60 categories; each participant must read 1 book in 50 categories to win (the same book cannot be used for multiple categories). Physical books, e-books, and audiobooks count toward the challenge. If you have kids under 13 who would like to participate in a reading challenge, check out our Ultimate Book Nerd Kids' Edition. For our youngest readers, we have 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. It is for children 0-6. The goal is simple: read 1,000 books with your child before they start kindergarten. Sound daunting? If you read just one book a day from the time your child is born, you will reach 1,000 books before they turn three.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten Banner

If you aren’t a fan of challenges but you would like to keep track of what you have read this year, you can always use a spreadsheet (like some of my coworkers do), or go the old-fashioned route and just use a notebook.

Here are a few challenges my coworkers participated in, along with those who just kept track of how many books they read:


Goodreads logo

Goodreads Challenge & 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, “I had a goal of 100 books. I surpassed my goal and have read 135 books so far. My daughter and I are also participating in 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, and so far, we have read 134 books together.”


52 books in 52 weeks, “My goal is to read at least 52 books a year (one per week). So far this year I've read 70 and will (hopefully!) hit 75 before the end of the year. I keep track of what I have read on a spreadsheet.”


Spreadsheet, “my goal was to read 25 books in 2021, and I am currently on track to just meet that objective. As I near the finish of the 25 on my list for the year (Billy Summers by Stephen King), I am also closing in on completing a larger goal of reading Stephen King’s complete body of work. With only 9% of his considerable bibliography remaining (yes, I have a spreadsheet to track this too), most of my reading and listening for 2021 involved King’s books.”


Journal, “I keep track of all the books I read in a journal. I didn't do a specific reading challenge, but I mostly just wanted to read more books than I did last year. Last year I read 36 books, and so far, this year I'm up to 57!”


Ultimate Book Nerd Challenge logo

Ultimate Book-Nerd, "I have tried to do the Ultimate Book Nerd challenge we have here at the library for two years now, and both years I have fallen short. However, even though I did not finish the challenge either year, I ended up reading a fair number of books that I would not normally read. I have also read more books than I usually do. Out of all the books to choose from, I really enjoyed reading books that other staff members recommended to me from genres I don’t usually read from. I also loved reading the banned books that I chose each year. This next year I have a plan… I am going to preselect the books that I want to read so that I’m not scrambling each time to find the right “fit.” Looking forward to another year of reading!"


Ultimate Book Nerd & Popsugar, I participated in both challenges this year but did not quite hit my goal. I enjoy listening to podcasts and feel if the challenge was regarding these, I would have definitely hit my goal and then some!

Make your New Year’s Resolution a fun one and participate in a reading challenge in 2022!

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