A Mississippi library wants you to suggest names for this outrageously large bear

Published 9:41 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

Hanging out at the Warren County Vicksburg Public Library is an oversized teddy bear. It sits downstairs in the children’s department, where kids can come and love on it and read to it.

While the big stuffed animal is already becoming a fixture for the kids, it is still lacking a name.

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Therefore, the WCVPL is holding a bear-naming contest through April 30. “To date we have gotten over 60 responses,” WCVPL children’s librarian Marie Cunningham said.

“We got 15 online the very first evening it was posted.”

Cunningham said, the F.A.O. Schwarz bear was donated by Mathilda Stewart.

“I think she was looking for a good home for the stuffed animal,” Cunningham said, because during a conversation Stewart asked if she would like a bear for Storytime.

The bear, Cunningham described, is caramel color and is large enough that a grownup looks like a child sitting beside it.

Plans are to announce the chosen name by the end of the first week in May, Cunningham said, and patrons may submit as many suggestions as they might have with no limit to the number of submissions. Submissions can be done at the library, 700 Veto St., or online through the library’s Facebook page.

Cunningham said the WCVPL will have a booth at the upcoming RiverFest, which is set for April 21, and in addition to the bear being part of the booth, ballots will be available.

The WCVPL is also planning to use the bear as part of their upcoming toy checkout display.

The library has obtained funds through a grant, Cunningham said, which has allowed them to purchase games and toys for patrons to use with their preschoolers.

“We received a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act through the Institute of Museums and Libraries,” WCVPL director Katrina Stokes said.

This has allowed for new board books and containers to be purchased, as well as funding for toys and games.

Stokes said the toy checkout display is something other libraries in Mississippi have done in partnership with Excel by 5.

“The goal is to provide resources to parents who otherwise might not be able to afford preschool. This is a chance for them to have access to toys and games,” Stokes said.

“It is a library’s job to encourage a love of reading and lifelong learning at each stage of children’s growth and development,” Cunningham said. “And we work hard to provide something of interest for all children in the hopes that they will continue to seek the library for their recreational and educational needs throughout their lives.”