As you are reading this it is Sept. 30, the last day of the Read! Build! Play! contest sponsored by LEGO and the Association for Library Services to Children.
The contest is essentially a voting run-off, and whichever library in the United States gets the most votes wins a $5,000 grant from LEGO to be used for purchasing books and supplies. You may remember I wrote a column about it in early August, asking folks to go to the website and vote for the Mount Airy Public Library. I wrote a second column later in August, a little steamed over comments a Houston Chronicle staffer had made about Mount Airy.
To give you a quick overview, the guy was asking local readers there to vote for a neighborhood library. No problem there. But in the course of his column he made some comments about Mount Airy I considered a bit snarky and sarcastic comments because, at that time, the Mount Airy library had a small lead over the Heights Neighborhood Library of Houston. (You can go to http://blog.chron.com/heights/2012/08/heights-library-needs-some-votes/#comments and see for yourself).
Now, Houston’s a big city, as this writer (Martin Hajovsky) said, and he felt the good folks there should be able to cast more votes than those casting ballots for Mount Airy. And shortly after his first column, the Heights library edged into the lead, even taking an advantage of a couple of thousand votes since then. And while folks both here and there expressed some disappointment in the manner in which he had written about Mount Airy, Hajovsky continued digging in, even referring to some of the comment posters from Mount Airy as jerks.
I’ve gotten a few e-mails here from local residents, and even from folks from elsewhere, complaining about the tone of Harjovsky’s column and promising to not only vote for the Mount Airy library, but to have all of their Facebook and real-life friends do the same.
I’m proud to say that as of Friday afternoon, when I was writing this, Mount Airy’s library had a commanding lead in the contest, 97,724 votes to 47,590. That’s right, our community had more than doubled the votes for the Houston library.
But, we cannot rest on our lead. The contest is scheduled to end tomorrow, Oct. 1. Now, I’m not one for conspiracy theories, nor am I paranoid, but Houston is a big, big city. It wouldn’t be hard for a neighborhood library to organize its patrons to make one final push for voting each day this weekend. And if those patrons get their Facebook, Twitter, and real-life friends to vote and, in turn ask their friends to do so, it wouldn’t take long to rack up thousands of votes.
We can’t do anything about how many votes the Heights library may end up with, but what we can do is ensure Mount Airy stays on top. Today, and tomorrow if the voting is still open, go to http://readbuildplay.com/ and vote for Mount Airy. Ask all of your Facebook and Twitter and real-life friends to do the same. And then ask them to pass this along to their friends.
Maybe, just maybe, we can push the vote total to 120,000 with a big-time push. And I would think that would ensure Mount Airy wins the grant.
John Peters is editor of The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 719-1931.