West Linn Public Library used vote to teach kids about political process

The ballots have been counted and the campaign posters torn down. This year, for the first time ever, Winnie the Pooh won the Best Bear Election at the West Linn Public VERN UYETAKE - A Winnie the Pooh campaign poster from the West Linn Public Library's Best Bear Election.

On Nov. 7, Pooh beat out children’s literary greats Corduroy, Paddington Bear and Mama Bear from “The Berenstain Bears.” The library received a total of 943 votes for the candidates — including three write-ins for a polar bear, Old Bear and Lorek Byrnison from the book “The Golden Compass.”

The children’s library hosted the election as a way to engage children in the election season.

The competition among library staff members — each bear even had a campaign manager and volunteers — was stiff.

Winners received bragging rights. Children’s Librarian Carson Mischel said the library was ecstatic about the voter turnout.

“I believe everyone who works here at the library was a bit surprised, and very pleased, that so many people voted,” Mischel said. “Personally, I was not surprised that Winnie the Pooh was the winner; he is so beloved across generations.”

Pooh ran on the campaign slogan: “Pooh cares 2012.” His campaign manager, Shasta Barnes, said his campaign ran on the platform of friendship, small business and local resources — as demonstrated by his love of honey and getting industry going in the Hundred Acre Wood.

She said Corduroy coming in second was “a bit of a shocker” and that Mama Bear voters were vocal about their choice. Paddington was the underdog from the start, but his team fought a good fight and his supporters are loyal, she added.

Thus far, Winnie the Pooh’s campaign team has been very gracious with their win. The library has no formal plans for a second election, but Mischel said she hopes to make it an annual tradition.

“It is a fun way to celebrate children’s literature, and I loved seeing how passionate people were about their choices,” Mischel said. “All of us at the West Linn library would like to thank everyone who came out to vote and give a hearty congratulations to Winnie the Pooh, 2012’s best bear!”

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