Library brings buzz-worthy competition to CU community

By Katie Powers

This past Saturday, adults across the Champaign-Urbana area had the chance to relive their childhood dreams at the Urbana Free Library’s 1st annual Adult Spelling Bee.

According to Carol Inskeep, the organizer of the event, the idea for an Adult Spelling Bee was inspired by a popular Buzzword adult spelling bee at the Salt Lake City Public Library. Inskeep also said the event, which sold out participant spaces on the Library’s website, featured 20 grownup spellers.

The structure of the event will be familiar to participants and audience members. “Our format follows the basic spelling bee guidelines, but this time it’s for adults. Contestants have pre-registered on our website and our participants will spell words of increasing difficulty until we have one mighty speller left standing,” Inskeep said.

As far as the takeaway from the event, Inskeep said that participants could expect irreverent fun and some new vocabulary. “It’s a smart, fun community event that draws a lot of interest.”

Inskeep believes that events like these are important for bringing the community together. “We’ve had a very enthusiastic response from Champaign-Urbana and even from outlying communities. Some people were spelling bee participants as kids, others love games of all kinds, and some people are challenging friends to be part of it.”

The Adult Spelling Bee will not only serve as a competition or academic pursuit. It’s also an opportunity for participants and audience members to get to know members of their community, particularly those taking on the challenge of spelling.

“We asked everyone to submit a 6-word bio that we will read at the Bee so you’ll get a glimpse of the eccentric, brilliant, and (possibly) ruthlessly competitive variety of people who are playing,” Inskeep said.

The event also served as a way to introduce people to the mission of the library. “We love doing free community events that bring people together. It’s also a chance for us to show off our new collections; we’ll have a display of some of the new things you can check out from the library now including an amazing selection of graphic novels, comics, board games, sewing machines, telescopes, and guitars.”