Mahomet Public Library challenges community members to try and break world records

Longest held breath under water, largest pizza, biggest bubblegum bubble blown — yes, those are all Guinness World Records.

Though some seem impossible to break, Mahomet community members gathered at the Mahomet Public Library for the Can You Beat a World Record? event to try their hand in breaking six seemingly easy world records.

For Brittany Pagel, trying to stack 20 Lego blocks into a right-angle Lego tower in less than 20.75 seconds was quite the challenge.

She and her 5-year-old son, Cayden Mars, gave the event a try with Pagel's nephew, Hayden Lewis, 9. This was only Pagel's second time visiting the library's community events with the children.

She attended last Friday's Legos at the Library event, where she learned of the record-breaking experience.

"I heard about it for the last 24 hours," Pagel joked.

The cousins' favorite station was trying to eat as many M&Ms as possible in one minute blindfolded using only chopsticks to consume the candy.

"Just eating them was their favorite," Pagel said. "Anything with sugar."

The world record was 20 M&M's, and, unfortunately, Pagel and the children were nowhere near close.

One-year-old Grant Senn simply enjoyed eating the M&M's the most.

"It's supposed to be nap time but he's not yawning anymore so we're good," joked Grant's father, Phillip Senn. "I think it's great to be able to get out and see other people in the community and just have fun with your kids."

Across the room, Macey Jarboe, 6, attempted to assemble a Mr. Potato Head as quickly as possible.

"I did it!" she said.

Maura Stutzman, youth services and programming librarian, showed attendees the method she observed in watching videos of those attempting to beat the world record.

"They all start by stacking the potato first to its shoes to make a base," Stutzman said.

And try as they might, none of the attendees were successful in breaking the 6.62 second world record.

Sara DeGraff, a University of Illinois graduate student completing her practicum for her library and information sciences degree, helped attendees try to place as many sticky notes as possible to their face in one minute and beat the current record of 58.

DeGraff also assisted community members in attempting to balance as many CDs as possible on one finger, but attendees were no match for the world record of 50.

Pagel and her nephew Hayden also enjoyed stacking the toilet paper rolls as high as they possibly could in 30 seconds and even neared the library's ceiling with their efforts, but they were no match for the 28-roll record.

"I chose events that I knew would be fun to try and beat and that seemed pretty simple," Stutzman said of her selection of the activities. "It's no fun to try and beat a record that you deem impossible."

The concept for the library's first world record event began out of the sheer popularity of the "Guinness Book of World Records," as well as a way to provide community members a unique way to learn and gather together.

"It's such a fun way to learn about all sorts of people and activities," Stutzman said. "Who would have known there was even a record for the most M&M's eaten in a minute with chopsticks while blindfolded? And not only is that a record, so many people around the world have worked to complete, but now those numbers include the children of Mahomet."

The event was a hit for both parents and children alike as both participated in trying to beat the world records.

"I loved their confidence!" Stutzman added. "Every one of them was convinced they were going to beat the world record and when that didn't happen, they were just more resolved to practice their skills."

For DeGraff, who hopes to someday be a school librarian or a public librarian, events such as these provide an opportunity to for communities to be adventurous and "broaden their horizons."

"I just loved seeing the different people that come and the different activities that brought everybody together and how it changed," DeGraff said "It went from toilet paper stacking to unraveling and it's just really funny to see how it all unraveled."

As for the future of the event, Stutzman hopes to see world record activities become a reoccurring opportunity at the library.

"It would be so fun to have some similar events to see how the kids improve and introduce new events as more records come out," she said. "It would also be fun to have kids make up their own world records."

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