Monthly Highlights: December 2023

Red Deer Public Library's Monthly Highlights - December 2023

Here are a few highlights from December 2023 at RDPL!

Winter Fun with Katja

Team Katja, which includes Katja, our Facility Service Dog, and her two handlers, Tatiana and Karen, facilitated the Winter Fun with Katja program at the Dawe Branch on December 2, providing families with multiple winter-themed fun literacy activities, including an interactive snowflake board, family games, and reading to Katja. The same interactive display was offered to the Timberlands visitors as an ongoing interactive activity in December.

Display board reading "We are like snowflakes: all different, all special!" Katja and Karen reading with two young children

Reader Rendezvous

Reader Rendezvous, our Discord book club, started 2023 with 47 active members and ended the year with 68 active members. This is an increase in active memberships of 45% from January to December 2023!

What is Discord, you ask? Discord is a voice, video, and text chat app that's used by tens of millions of people ages 13+ to talk and hang out with their communities and friends. Having an online book club at Discord allows RDPL to facilitate meaningful book club discussions and create an inclusive and accessible virtual space for people to connect, communicate, and collaborate in real-time.

Here are some recent comments from Reader Rendezvous members:

"Great people and great selection of books. I might not always love them but I enjoy giving books I might not normally pick up a chance."

"Thank you, Alyssa for doing such fantastic job of making this online bookclub such a great community. It is my first bookclub I ever belonged to and it has been an amazing experience!"

"Love RR! A great way to showcase what’s ongoing at RDPL & the buddy reads have been great. It’s been a great community that’s been built."

"Hey! I just wanted to say that I'm so thankful for this discord group and the way you guys have it set up. It's never overwhelming and I find there's a good vibe to the group."

Check out to learn more about Reader Rendezvous!

Healing Hearts 'Gone Too Soon' Memorial Tree

Our friends at Healing Hearts Red Deer & Area (through Moms Stop The Harm) set up their “Gone Too Soon” memorial tree in the lobby at the Downtown Branch for the month of December. This beautiful tribute honours those who have passed due to substance-use-related harms, and all were welcome to add a memorial heart to the tree. It was heartbreaking to see the number of hearts grow throughout the month. We are grateful for the work that Healing Hearts Red Deer and Area does in our community. Learn more about this wonderful group at or by contacting HealingHeartsRedDeerAndArea [at] gmail [dot] com.

Four members of Healing Heart Red Deer and Area stand next to the Gone Too Soon memorial tree Healing Hearts Tree

Diverse Voices at RDPL: A Place for All

Coming Soon: Diverse Voices Portal on RDPL's Website

A new Diverse Voices section of the library’s website will aim to amplify underrepresented voices, celebrate diversity in all its forms, and connect all members of our community with resources – both within the library and in the greater community – that will increase our knowledge, empathy, understanding, and compassion for one another. This project is currently in its staff preview phase for those on the planning committee. The committee will reconvene in early 2024 to finalize this first iteration of the site before launching to the public. Stay tuned!

Volunteering at RDPL

RDPL currently has approximately 300 volunteers supporting our library programs and services! These amazing volunteers are involved with one or more of the following volunteer opportunities: Library Board, Friends of the Library, Adult Literacy Program, Home Service Program, and Youth Literacy program.

The Youth Literacy program is newest addition to our selection of volunteer opportunities at the library, and began as a pilot program in the spring of 2023 with six volunteers. By year's end, after the official launch of the program in the fall, this volunteer group grew to 34 volunteers who support 39 students in the Youth Literacy program!

For more information about the Youth Literacy program, visit, and to find out more about our other volunteer opportunities, visit We'd like to thank each and every one of our volunteers for all of the wonderful work that they do! We would not be able to do what we do without them. 

Adult Storytime at Red Hart Brewing

Deb and Trish hosted their annual Christmas Adult Storytime at Red Hart Brewing. Much festive fun (and many laughs!) were had by all. 

 Library staff member wearing a Christmas sweater and reindeer ears, reading a book with a red cover while standing at a microphone in front of a large RDPL banner beside the railing on the top floor at Red Hart Brewing. Library staff member reading a book with a red cover while sitting on a tall chair in front of a large RDPL banner beside the railing on the top floor at Red Hart Brewing. Hand-drawn picture of "Gil, the Imperfect Reindeer." At the top it reads "Thanks for the stories! Merry Christmas!"

Creative Outlet: Family Edition

Claire and Sarah hosted Creative Outlet’s 'Make Your Own Gnome Garland' program. Much fun was had by all participants, and they loved showing off their creations!

Creative Outlet Child showing their garland Creative Outlet Child and adult showing their garland

Last Chapter Book Club (Featuring a Special Guest!)

Our last meeting of the year for the Last Chapter book club hosted by Shannon featured a discussion with a local death doula, Phyllis Paterson. Phyllis and other end of life doulas help families and individuals navigate the final life transition. They help patients get their affairs in order, decide how they want to die, and explore ideas to ease discomfort and fear. Their work often requires cooperation with medical providers. There were 5 people in attendance for this book club and many questions were asked. It seems that there is an increased curiosity about the process of dying, and an interest in discussing it with others. We welcome everyone to our book club who is interested in learning and discussing. 

Find out more about Last Chapter Book Club and our many other book club programs at

Sugarplum Storytime & Merry Grinchmas

Rachelle and Deb had an enthusiastic group of children and their parents at their annual Sugarplum Storytime! Participants enjoyed holiday-themed puppet shows, stories, activities and crafts, including the little snowman ornaments pictured below.

Rachelle continued the seasons’ festivities with the 'Merry Grinchmas' program at the Timberlands Branch, which included hot chocolate and a cozy viewing of the classic cartoon edition of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Six of the Sugarplum Storytime attendees in their jammies are showing off their snowman craft! A library staff member in a festive shirt is smiling in the background.

Adult Literacy Holiday Party!

On December 13, the Adult Literacy Program held its annual Holiday party for tutors and learners (their first post-pandemic gathering!). Sixty people attended this event. A talented musician from Armenia entertained the audience after a wonderful buffet dinner. The participants enjoyed their time with other tutors, learners, and Board members. It was an evening of reflection and joy, a great way to finish off 2023 and think of the opportunities that 2024 will bring.

Adult Literacy Christmas Party attendees sitting at a table with refreshments Adult Literacy Christmas Party attendees sitting at a table with refreshments Adult Literacy Christmas Party attendees sitting at a table with refreshments Adult Literacy Christmas Party attendees sitting at a table with refreshments

PJ Day!

To celebrate the upcoming Christmas season, RDPL staff had a PJ day at the library on Dec 22, complete with comfy pajamas and slippers, hot chocolate, and cookies! This is always a fun day for staff, and our customers seem to really appreciate seeing us having a really enjoyable (and cozy!) day.

RDPL staff wearing pajamas at the Timberlands Branch RDPL staff wearing pajamas at the Dawe Branch RDPL staff wearing pajamas at the Downtown Branch

We hope you enjoyed our December 2023 highlights!