La Mesa, California - Step up to the plate this summer and take a swing at checking out 20 items at once at one of three County Libraries. Why? Along with your favorite stories, you’ll take home a set of two tickets to an upcoming Padres game!

Customers of all ages are invited to participate in San Diego County Library's first Checkout Challenge. Three branches — La Mesa, San Marcos and Vista — are competing in a Checkout Challenge to reach one million checkouts for this fiscal year, which ends June 30; and the Padres have donated thousands of tickets to upcoming games. Visit the La Mesa, San Marcos or Vista branches today and check out 20 books, movies or CDs and you'll receive a set of tickets (while supplies last).

The donation of Padres tickets is the latest incentive to be added to the Checkout Challenge program. The winning branch will host a community party with hundreds of new DVDs for customers to checkout; the manager of the San Marcos Library pledged to dye her hair red, white, and blue if her branch wins; and five staffers of the Vista Branch pledged to publicly cut their hair into mohawks if they win. Library Director José Aponte recently announced that he will also get a mohawk if any branch sets the record this fiscal year.

As of June 17, the standings put the Vista Library in first place with 960,693 checkouts, followed by San Marcos with 848,202 checkouts and La Mesa with 804,071 checkouts.

"The Checkout Challenge aims to raise awareness about the great resources we offer at San Diego County Library," Aponte said. "Staff and customers alike are having a great time with the competition and we are honored that the San Diego Padres jumped in to support the effort with their donation of tickets."

All library materials count towards the Checkout Challenge, even e-books which can be downloaded online. Already have items checked out? Renewals count as checkouts! You can renew items online at www.sdcl.org, by calling (858) 514-4765 or by calling/visiting your local branch.