Instead of checking out books from the Eldersburg Branch of the Carroll County Public Library, dozens stopped by to check out golf clubs and golf balls from the library counter to play miniature golf on Saturday.
It was the second year the library transformed itself into an 18-hole miniature golf course — part of a fundraiser organized by the Friends of the Carroll County Public Library for the Battle of the Books, a book-based competition for Carroll County Public Schools students, testing their knowledge of books.
"This is the fourth year we've done it; it has grown exponentially each year," said Lisa Picker, a spokeswoman for CCPL. Mini-golf tickets were $10 for adults and $5 for children. All proceeds supported the book-based competition. "We raised $6,500 last year, and we hope to raise even more this year."
Craig McGarry, 32, of Eldersburg, played a game with his wife, Joanne McGarry, 31, their 9-month-old son, Jack, and their friend Patrick Jarboe, 33, who traveled back to his hometown from Owings Mills.
"We figured we'd come out and support the library — and see the Oriole Bird," Craig McGarry said.
The Oriole Bird, the Baltimore Ravens mascot, Poe, and the library's mascot, Corky, walked around the library, high-fiving and hugging excited children. They also faced off for a round of mini-golf at noon. Face-painting, food, raffles and crafts were among event offerings.
Outside the library, people watched the JoeyDCares Rock Orchestra, a nonprofit comprised of students from the seventh through twelfth grades and adults who perform concerts to raise money and awareness for charities. At 11 a.m. Carroll County Chamber of Commerce President Mike McMullin teed off with County Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5.
The miniature golf course meandered through the library, weaving in and out of book aisles. The 13th hole, sponsored by New Windsor State Bank and located between the romance and science sections, was based on "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle.
Golfers were required to swing their way through four creatively designed holes. After making their way through the first, designed to replicate the front page of the book, they had to putt through an apple, a pear and a strawberry, much like a hungry caterpillar would.
But it was Tristar Martial Arts who walked away with an award for the best-decorated hole, for bedecking their space with a martial arts theme, Picker said.
Picker also said a member of the Parsons family won the Best Golfer of the Day award.
Joyce Muller and Richard Soisson, members of the CCPL board of trustees, played a round on the 18-hole course, although they said they weren't keeping score.
Muller said the event was a great way to introduce the library to families who might not be frequent customers.
"They get to see the space and have a real fun activity," said Muller, who is also on the board of the Friends of CCPL.
The overall goal of the Battle of the Books is to encourage reading among students in grades four through eight, while also highlighting the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award nominees, authors and illustrators chosen by children in Maryland, according to the CCPL website.
The competition is offered to fourth- and fifth-grade students and middle school students, Picker said. Last year about 1,400 students participated in the event.
Students form teams and together they read up to 10 books per elementary school student and up to 20 for middle school students, where they compete against teams at their school and across the county, Picker said. Teams answer questions together about the books they have read in a series of eight battles.
Picker said the library has learned through self-reported data from parents, media specialists and students that the competition has boosted reading grades and scores among students.
Elementary school books for the 2015-16 competition include "El Deafo" by Cece Bell; "The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue" by Ian Lendler; "Phoebe and Her Unicorn" by Dana Simpson; "Poop Fountain!" by Tom Angleberger; "Half a World Away" by Cynthia Kadohata; "The Fourteenth Goldfish" by Jennifer Holm; "Half a Chance" by Cynthia Lord; "Absolutely Almost" by Lisa Graff; "Words with Wings" by Nikki Grimes; and "Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle" by George Hagen.
Middle school books for the 2015-16 competition include "El Deafo"; "The Silver Six" by AJ Lieberman; "Cardboard" by Doug TenNapel; "The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander; "Ice Dogs" by Terry Lynn Johnson; "I Am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai; "I Kill the Mockingbird" by Paul Acampora; "The Great Trouble" by Deborah Hopkinson; "The Boy on the Wooden Box" by Leon Leyson; "Screaming at the Ump" by Audrey Vernick; "The Night Gardener" by Jonathan Auxier; and "The Boundless" by Kenneth Oppel.
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