Beloit Public Library (BPL) is launching its 39th BookQuest program with a party in honor of longtime BPL staff member, BookQuest program organizer, and community advocate Judy Adams.
Judy’s lifework was connecting children with the magic and wonder of reading. BookQuest is an annual reading program organized by BPL for 4th and 5th graders that culminates with a friendly battle-of-the-books-style competition among teams from area schools.

The launch party will be held 12:00-3:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 3 under large tents in the BPL parking lot to kick off the 2021-2022 BookQuest season. Festivities will include live music by Gary McAdams, a presentation by national author John Coy, and a reveal of the 2021-2022 BookQuest book list.

The event is free, open to the public, and appropriate for all ages. The program will start at 12:30, followed by activities for children, refreshments, a book signing, book giveaway, and tours of the library’s new spaces.

National author John Coy is the featured speaker. Coy, who has a personality that has been compared to Fred Rogers, has a great rapport with school children, having travelled and presented to schools around the world. His book, My Mighty Journey: A Waterfall’s Story, will be the focus. Not only will it be one of the titles featured on the 2021-2022 BookQuest list, it will be the subject of his talk. PLUS, the first 50 families to attend will receive a FREE copy to take home and keep. Coy will autograph copies for anyone who so desires.

Nationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Gary McAdams will perform a few selections, including an original song inspired by Coy’s book. His song, titled You Could Move a Waterfall, was written alongside local musician Matt Goodwin.

The Judy Adams BookQuest Launch is supported by the Judith H. Adams Fund in support of the gift of reading. Adams passed away last October after a spirited fight with pancreatic cancer. Her family – husband, Jeff, and sons Sam, Will and Dan — established the Judith H. Adams Fund at the Stateline Community Foundation to help continue her work in sparking the joy of reading in Beloit-area children.
The public is encouraged to attend this momentous occasion, which BPL staff hope to continue long into the future to spark that joy of reading, launch the new BookQuest year, and honor Adams.
For more details, visit www.beloitpubliclibrary.org, call (608)364-2905, or follow Beloit Public Library on Facebook.

John Coy
John Coy is the author of young adult novels, the 4 for 4 middle-grade series, and fiction and nonfiction picture books. He has received numerous awards for his work including a Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for best debut picture book, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, Notable Book for a Global Society, the Burr/Worzalla Award for Distinguished Achievement in Children’s Literature and the Kerlan Award. John lives in Minneapolis and visits schools around the world.

Gary McAdams
Blessed with a 3 1/2 octave vocal range, Gary McAdams is considered one of the finest indie vocalists in the country. A unique God-given talent, combined with 30+ years of performing experience allows Gary to sing with an astonishing combination of range, power, versatility, and soulful emotion. His diverse influences and exposure enable him to authentically perform in a wide variety of musical styles, including Country, Blues, R&B, Rock, Jazz, Gospel, and Choral.

Judith Helen Adams
May 6, 1944 – October 5, 2020
Judy’s lifework was connecting children with the magic and wonder of reading. Her professional training, vocation as a social worker and librarian, and joy of exploring the interests of children layered together like a quilt that comforted many children in the love of the written word.

Children she encountered were always encouraged and uplifted, and often left with the perfect book recommendation. Judy knew the peace, joy, and resilience-building qualities reading for enjoyment brought to children.

Judy was born in Racine on May 6, 1944, to Edward and Edith Sukus, a policeman and nurse. Together with her older brother Richard, Judy had a happy childhood with many adventures at the Lake Michigan shore and Racine Zoo.

After graduating from Horlick High School she attended and graduated from Carroll College in Waukesha. It was there that she met Jeffrey Adams. After college, she worked as a caseworker for Milwaukee County’s Child Welfare Division. Judy and Jeffrey were wed in 1968. They moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they both attended graduate school. Judy obtained her Masters Degree in Social Work.
After their scholarship was complete, Judy and Jeffrey began a journey pursuing his career in academia, first in Tivoli, New York; to Northfield, Minnesota; to Madison, Wisconsin; and finally to their final home in Beloit. At each stop, Judy carved her own career path as a clinical therapist and social worker. Along the way they had three sons — Sam, Will and Dan — whose rambunctiousness was often a mirror opposite of Judy’s own serene demeanor.

Judy loved her 1982 adopted hometown of Beloit and formed many wonderful and deep friendships. For decades she woke before dawn to swim laps every morning at the YMCA pool before getting her sons ready for school.

She was an active volunteer with Friends of the Riverfront and was ever present to help Music at Harry’s Place and other events at Riverside Park. She relished writing biannual research papers for her fellow East End Club members where she mixed scholarship with a subtle sense of humor. Professionally, Judy was a Certified Social Worker and helped countless individuals and families work through difficult times with Family Services of Beloit.

In addition, for 25 years she worked part-time as a librarian at the children’s desk at Beloit Public Library. There she organized many of the library’s special programs including the Booklegger program and annual Battle of the Books (now known as BookQuest) competition for local school children.

Later in life, Judy became a grandmother to four grandchildren who she adored. One of her only regrets in leaving this world prematurely was the thought of being unable to continue to give the gift of reading to Jacob, Ingrid, Kay, and Benjamin.
Judy’s family has established the Judith H. Adams Fund at the Stateline Community Foundation to help continue her work in sparking the joy of reading in Beloit-area children.

Beloit Public Library
Beloit Public Library provides an outstanding array of services for a population of 48,000 people residing in the City of Beloit, as well as outlying areas in Beloit and Turtle townships. In a community known for its diversity, BPL strives to reach everyone in the community with unique programming for all ages, a full range of library materials, and rapidly evolving computer technology and workforce development tools and resources.

Located at 605 Eclipse Boulevard, BPL serves the Beloit community by providing resources and services that support literacy, workforce development, and quality of life. Beloit Public Library is open 9:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To stay informed of the latest happenings, be sure to follow Beloit Public Library on Facebook.

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