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October 6, 2020 


Contact: Donna Scott-Martin

Library Launches Read Woke Challenge

Largo, Maryland – The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) encourages a love of reading for all Prince Georgians with special programs and reading challenges throughout the year. PGCMLS is collaborating with the Read Woke Challenge, a national initiative to encourage reading, personal growth, and social justice, as part of its ongoing work to advance racial and social equity.

Readers of all ages are encouraged to read (or listen to) at least five books between October 6 and December 15, 2020 that explore diversity, inclusion, equity, anti-racism, and the many perspectives of the human experience. Readers can register on Beanstack through PGCMLS to participate. All who log five titles through December 15, 2020 will be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card raffle.

“Read Woke is a movement. It is a feeling. It is a style. It is a form of education. It is a call to action; it is our right as lifelong learners,” comments Cecily Lewis the creator of the Read Woke Challenge. “It means arming yourself with knowledge in order to better protect your rights. Knowledge is power and no one can take it away. It means learning about others so that you can treat people with the respect and dignity that they deserve no matter their religion, race, creed, or color,” continued Lewis, the School Library Journal 2020 School Librarian of the Year.

To qualify as woke, a book must:

  • Challenge a social norm
  • Give voice to the voiceless
  • Provide information about a group that has been disenfranchised
  • Seek to challenge the status quo
  • Have a protagonist from an underrepresented or oppressed group

The Library offers book recommendations through BeanstackNext Reads, and the Prince George’s County Heritage Project. Readers can also receive personalized book recommendations by contacting Ask a Librarian at (240) 455-5451 or

About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 915,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve book-lovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike. The Books from Birth and Ready 2 Read programs make the Library the primary source of early literacy education and Kindergarten readiness programs in the County. 

PGCMLS’ robust online offerings include curated content collections for kids, teens, educators, Spanish speakers, and more. Virtual events and outreach provide access to the Library from the comfort of home or on the go. Special programs include the D.R.E.A.M. Lab, STEM Pals, and 3D printing, which offer teens and lifelong learners with opportunities to learn cutting-edge technology and STEM skills for job readiness or personal enrichment. The Library also provides drive-up WiFi access at all branches and mobile hotspot devices. The Library’s Laurel Branch Library received the 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Award and was designated the best new public building in Maryland.