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A trivial pursuit at the South San Francisco Library
October 30, 2013, 05:00 AM By Kenny Martin Daily Journal

Jon Valle
John Read, Marian Mann and David York from the Androcles Pals team fielded by the Daly City Host Lions at last year's Trivia Challenge.

Trivia buffs get ready, the South San Francisco Library is hosting its 21st annual trivia challenge this Friday.

The trivia challenge pits teams of three against each other in a competition to see who can answer the most trivia questions correctly. The questions, thought up by library staff, cover a wide range of subjects, from entertainment to government and literature.

Project Read, started by Leslie Shelton, is a program that matches people 18 and over with a tutor to help with specific skills, usually work related. Currently, Project Read in north San Mateo County has 80 tutors and 120 learners from South City, Daly City and Colma.

When South San Francisco started the trivia challenge fundraiser in 1992, there were only five to seven teams participating and between 50 and 60 people would attend. This year, there are more than 34 teams.

“After so many years of doing it, the support base is there,” said Fernando Cordova, literary services coordinator at the South San Francisco main library. “It has legs of its own.”

Alisa Clancy, from the radio show Morning Cup of Jazz on KCSM, will be the MC for the trivia challenge. Also in attendance will be ZAP Think Tank, the group that won the trivia challenge last year.

“The room is full of kindred spirit, and it’s fun when you don’t know the answer but one of your teammates does,” said Kathryn Verwillow, one of the winning contestants of ZAP Think Tank.

The team’s name came from the dorm the three of them lived in during college. Some of the questions Verwillow recalls her team answering correctly that the other teams got wrong include “What corporation owns See’s Candies?” and “What is the slang word for a British garbage collector?” For the curious, the answers are Berkshire Hathaway and dustman, respectively.

Cordova Verwillow jokingly credits her knack for knowing random trivia questions to a “misspent youth” and just paying attention daily.

ZAP Think Tank will be attempting to defend its title Friday.  

Through entry fees and corporate sponsors, the South San Francisco trivia challenge is projected to make $20,000, all of which will go to the lit service programs at the library, said Holly Fulghum-Nutters, the program manager for Project Read.

The challenge takes place at the South San Francisco Conference Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event starts at seven. The trivia challenge lasts for about an hour and a half. The event is open to the public, at $30 a person. The last day to enter a team in the competition is Wednesday, Oct. 30 (the cost is $400 per team of three). This entry fee includes a dinner and goes to supporting library literary services such as Project Read. For more information email Holly Fulghum-Nutters at



Tags: trivia, challenge, south, francisco,

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