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VIDEO: A Challenge Made ... And Accepted

Lexington has accepted Arlington's 'Library Card Challenge.' Belmont and Somerville have, too.

Ryan Livergood, the director of Robbins Library -- Arlingotn's Public Library -- recently issued a challenge to his colleagues in the surrounding communities.

Livergood wanted to see which community could increase its new library card registration the most in February (percentage increase this February, compared to February 2012).

“When I started as library director in April of 2012,” Livergood said, “one of the things I wanted to do was get out in our community and remind people of the value of a library card.”

Belmont’s library director, Maureen Conners, Lexington’s Koren Stembridge and Somerville’s Maria Carpenter all accepted Livergood’s challenge. And, at a Thursday press conference at Robbins Library, the stakes were laid out:

The winning library will receive a platter of baked goods from the losing communities’ favorite local bakeries. If Arlington doesn’t win, Livergood will dress up as “Clifford the Big Red Dog” (yes, he already has the costume) and read at the winner’s children’s story time.

Also, Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone have made a side bet, with the winner getting treated to lunch at his favorite local restaurant.

The visiting directors said they’re up for the challenge.

“Something you should know about Somerville is that we are fiercely competitive,” Carpenter said Thursday.

“I hate to burst your bubbles, but we can’t wait for the cookies,” Conners said.

“I want to wish Belmont, Lexington and Somerville the best of luck,” Livergood said, “But not too much luck, because we intend to win here in Arlington.”

Stembridge, of Lexington's Cary Memorial Library, was not in attendance.

Livergood also spoke about the importance of library cards in general.

“I believe a library card is a golden ticket to one of the most magical places on Earth – the library,” he said. “It’s the one place where everyone in our community, regardless of their background, regardless of their circumstances, they can come in, and they’re empowered to better their lives … in both big ways and small ways.”

Library cards do expire, so you can always swing by the library to see if yours is still valid.

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