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Simcoe Reads books battle-royal debate with largest field yet

'It's been amazing to watch our cover-to-cover competition grow from five participating libraries to seven,' says Barrie library official; Local event airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on Rogers TV

The second annual Simcoe Reads competition takes place on the next two Sundays and features seven Simcoe County libraries in a cover-to-cover competition.

Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Essa Township, Innisfil, Midland, New Tecumseth, and Ramara Township each have a champion representing their library system who has read a book they chose from a list that had been provided.

Based on the popular CBC show Canada Reads, each library selected a Canadian book and a local celebrity champion to defend their book in a televised debate.

While she doesn’t agree she's a local celebrity, Carolina Belmares is an avid reader, an author, a speaker, an educator, and an entrepreneur. She was asked to be the representative for the Barrie Public Library (BPL).

She chose the book A Mind Spread Out On the Ground by Alicia Elliott.

“The story sounded quite compelling to me, just from the excerpt," Belmares told BarrieToday. "I knew right away I wanted to learn more about this person’s life experiences and her upbringing with an Indigenous dad and a white mom, living on the reserve. 

"I knew that was a conversation I wanted to know more about, but the book has also received so many accolades since being released, with good reason. I see why now having read it," she added. 

Laura Lambert, who is the BPL program and outreach librarian, says it has been exciting to be able to promote community spirit through a friendly competition. 

“It's been so fun getting to work with some of our neighbouring libraries, and it's been amazing to watch our cover-to-cover competition grow from five participating libraries to seven participating libraries,” Lambert told BarrieToday. “We're excited to see how this program grows over the years.”

The local event will be airing on Rogers TV on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m., as well as live streaming that day. It will also air on Rogers TV on Oct. 10 at 8 p.m.

Voting will open right after the conclusion of the Oct. 3 airing, and viewers can get the link during the show, or from the Barrie Public Library website after the event. 

Voters have from after the event on Oct. 3 until Oct. 12, at 11:59 p.m., to vote.

The libraries will announce the winner on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

For a list of library representatives and the books they will defend, check out the website by clicking here.

Lambert said if anyone is looking to champion a region for future events, they should call their local library for more information.