The Ouachita Parish Public Library plans to give away free books to children who complete a literary scavenger hunt during the last week of October.

Though the Library is not hosting its annual large-scale Pumpkin Bash: A Children’s Book Festival for health safety reasons, it is still prioritizing the book giveaway.

This year, Pumpkin Bash will be a scavenger hunt that children can complete with their families. To receive a free book, children must complete seven of the 10 items on the Pumpkin Bash scavenger hunt, which can be found in the Library’s most recent Cattails publication or online at They can then bring in the scavenger hunt sheet to their local branch during open hours of Oct,=. 26-31 and exchange it for an age-appropriate book. Books are available while supplies last.

“A huge part of our mission is to advance literacy. We’ve had to get creative these past few months, but not even a pandemic will stop the importance of childhood literacy,” said Library Director Robin Toms. “Our staff has hosted virtual story time, helped patrons download e-books and now we’re offering Pumpkin Bash in a new, different way as well.”

Scavenger hunt items include participating in virtual story time on the Library’s Facebook page, playing outside in the fall weather and learning how to use the online catalog. Also on the scavenger hunt is Downtown Story Time Stroll, during which families can read pages of a book posted in the windows of merchants in downtown West Monroe.

“The Library isn’t missing the opportunity to advance literacy. This scavenger hunt is a great way for children to learn about their local public library and be rewarded with a book to take home and keep,” said LaKeisha Bosworth, Library Youth Services Coordinator.

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