Sarasota libraries races to finish in Mark Cuban's reading challenge

A national reading competition is getting more people into libraries.

This innovative approach helps people discover the love of reading.

Emily Grant can't remember a time when she didn't have a book in her hands.

"I love it... I read just about every day," she said. "It's the connection with reading in which I think is critical to expanding your mind, and understanding yourself and really understanding others, as well."

Now she is taking part in the Winter Reading Challenge, a national reading competition sponsored by billionaire investor Mark Cuban.

Andrea Dictor with Sarasota County Libraries says, "We think it is a great opportunity to get the community together and read and just to experience excitement around reading and around the libraries."

The goal for the challenge is to get readers from 100 public libraries across the country to finish 75,000 books in one month. If the goal is met, Cuban will donate $35,000 to the top performing libraries.

"[You] don't even have to step foot in a library to participate in this. You can go online to our website and you can log the books you read from home or at the library," Dictor explained.

This is the second year for the program. In Sarasota libraries last year, readers read over a thousand books.

"This challenge is really to help instill in children and adults just the fun of reading," Dictor said. "It's the opportunity to delve into new books and just get into a different world and a different space."

It's also an opportunity to help inspire all generations to rediscover the love of reading. The challenge ends at the end of this month. For information, visit