Monthly Highlights: February 2024

Red Deer Public Library's Monthly Highlights - February 2024

Here are a few highlights from February 2024 at RDPL!

Drop-in Storytime at the Collicutt Branch

Miss Shannon with a puppet on her hand and a felt board beside her, excited for Storytime at the Collicutt Branch!

Our new Storytime at the Collicutt Branch, opens a new window on Thursday mornings is in full swing! We have a drop-in audience of approximately 30 people. Many passersby at the Collicutt Centre stop in and stay for stories (especially when Miss Shannon does a quick tour through the Centre before the program to invite people in!), and also many that come to the program as their regular "library time" and enjoy the routine. All ages are welcome, and we have lots of babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their extended families joining in. It seems that many grandparents are enjoying storytime at the Center as well. It is a delightful half hour of fun, followed by lively conversations and connections – a real community hub! 

The People in Your Neighbourhood: Special Guest Storytime with RDP Queens Hockey Players!

On February 3, we hosted 'The People in Your Neighbourhood' storytime with special guest readers from the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Hockey Team, opens a new window, Alli and Avery. Participants enjoyed stories, a hockey craft, and even played a few rounds of hockey with mini sticks! Some parents commented how wonderful it was for their children to see and meet successful women in sports and were really excited to hear how well the RDP Hockey Queens team is doing this year! Check out our upcoming special guest storytimes here., opens a new window

RDP Queens reading stories RDP Queens with one program of their attendees

Make it @ RDP!

Speaking of RDP, we were excited to host our first maker program in Red Deer Polytechnic's Makerspace, opens a new window. We guided RDP students through making their own Cricut cut invisible ink book bags!  

Make it at RDP attendees Make it at RDP attendees Make it at RDP book bag

Green Thumb Gatherings

For the first time, Red Deer Public Library hosted a propagated plant swap. The library shared spiderlings from the Dawe Branch spider plants, and participants brought many other types of plants to share! We are also looking forward to opening our Community Seed Library, opens a new window for seed orders very soon, so stay tuned for that.

Travel Memories: Polar Bears & Northern Lights in Churchill with Olive

Image by Olive Frenette

It was a full house this month for our Travel Memories program, with over sixty people coming out to hear from Olive Frenette. Olive was an amazing speaker, and her presentation about her trip to Churchill, Manitoba, was humourous, informative, and super engaging. A very enjoyable time was had by all! Pictured here is one of many phenomenal photos that she shared. 

The Travel Memories program takes place on the first Wednesday of each month from September to June, with local guest speakers talking about their travel adventures. Join us! And if you are interested in sharing your travel experiences with others, please reach out to us at

Celebrating Black History Month!

We were thrilled to partner with the African Caribbean Centre of Central Alberta, opens a new window to offer storytimes for all ages to celebrate and honour Black History Month. Families enjoyed snacks, crafts and stories read by special guest readers from Red Deer’s Black community, each Saturday in February. Three of the four programs took place at the Downtown Branch of RDPL and one took place at the ACCoCA. Many of the readers and participants really connected with the books and these opportunities for conversations and learning.

Adult Literacy & Youth Literacy Program Updates

The Adult Literacy Program welcomed 6 new tutors and 50 new learners in February. Thirty six pairs were matched, with 189 learners still on the waitlist. As the waitlist continues to grow rapidly, more new volunteers join the program, and existing volunteers continue helping multiple learners. The Adult Literacy Program would like to give a shout-out to all our volunteer tutors – thank you for making a difference in the lives of others! If you are interested in volunteering with the Adult Literacy program, visit, opens a new window or contact

In February, our Youth Literacy Program paired up 9 more kids with awesome volunteers, making a total of 42 students now getting help with their reading and writing. However, we still have 15 children waiting their turn, including some who really need a tutor who can help them with their French reading skills. If you or someone you know wants to make a BIG difference in a child's life by helping them improve their reading and writing in English or French, visit, opens a new window or contact Your help could really change their game!

Youth Literacy tutor sessions at the Timberlands Branch

Spellbinding Moments from Our Spelling Bee!

These daring children tested their spelling skills in the Homeschool Spelling Bee and were cheered on by a crowd of thirty-five parents, grandparents and siblings.  The winners of the Bee One and Bee Two category won a Katja stuffie and Katja colouring book and the winner of the Bee Three category won an Apple gift card. We will be repeating this program on May 24, opens a new window and registrants will be contacted with a spelling list to practice for the Bee.

Jigsaw Puzzle Competition

Our Jigsaw Puzzle Competition on February 11 was once again a huge hit! Two teams were at previous events, but we also had 4 new teams AND 2 spectators! It’s puzzling how doing a jigsaw can be so entertaining 😉. The winning team completed their puzzle in about an hour and received a prize donated by CompuSoft and The Game Store, opens a new window.

New! Diverse Voices Website

In February, the library unveiled the Diverse Voices, opens a new window section on our website, now open for exploration by the public. This exciting launch marks a significant step towards fostering inclusivity and celebrating diversity in all its forms. Our goal with this new platform is to shine a spotlight on underrepresented voices, offering a rich tapestry of perspectives that reflect the richness of our community. Through curated resources, both within the library's walls and beyond, we aim to cultivate greater knowledge, empathy, and understanding among all members of our community. This website is a dynamic project, continuously evolving to better serve our community. We encourage you to revisit often to discover new content and join us on this journey of discovery and connection.

Spreading Joy Through Scavenger Hunts!

Simon, one of our RDPL team members, was assisting a young girl with our library scavenger hunt. Her mother approached to express gratitude for the monthly hunts, and shared how much her daughter adores them – in fact, she LIVES for them! Taking advantage of the conversation, Simon excitedly revealed details about the special one-day-only scavenger hunt he had been crafting for Pokémon Day. Needless to say, they were eager to participate and hunt down those elusive Pokémon with us as well!

For those who don't know, RDPL staff set out a new scavenger hunt each month at the Downtown Branch (in the children's department), Dawe Branch, and Timberlands Branch, and they certainly are a fan favourite amongst our young library visitors! 

Iron Chef for Kids!

We had a very successful Iron Chef program on February 21, with 11 competitors and 17 spectators. Families came out to watch their little chefs and cheer them on! The chefs showed a lot of creativity and were very excited to be creating what they wanted. One of the secret ingredients threw a twist in their plans, but they rethought things and incorporated the bananas with no problem 🍌😜.

Iron chef creation young chefs working on their Iron chef creations Iron chef creation

Lives Fully Lived

Cheryl Cooney, composer and pianist, spoke on the importance of being a music ‘missionary’ for the Lives Fully Lived speaker series. Cheryl voluntarily coordinates the First Thursdays, opens a new window in the Snell concert series at Red Deer Public Library as part of her effort to promote art music. 

All Things Katja!

Our Family Literacy Day 'Read for 15 with Katja' winner from last month, Ellie, came in to collect her prize. Her parents kept the fact that Ellie was the lucky winner a secret from her until they could come pick up the prize, which was a stuffed Katja toy. She was so excited, having been convinced that she wasn’t going to win, she said “miracles CAN happen!”

Also in February, a mother and young daughter came into the library to renew their library memberships. While they waited, the child noticed the stuffed Katja on the desk, and stated very confidently that we must have the stuffies “because the dog has passed.” Thankfully, this is not the case! RDPL staff member Jenn explained who Katja was, how she’s very much alive, and that she recently passed her Facility Service Dog certification test. She also told them about the Sit, Stay, Read with Katja, opens a new window program, and let her know that she could meet the real Katja. The daughter left VERY excited.

If you'd like to take home a Katja stuffie, opens a new window of your own, they can be purchased at the Downtown, Dawe, or Timberlands Branches for $25. And, of course, school-aged kids can book a time to read one-on-one with Katja! Browse available timeslots and book your session here, opens a new window. Speaking of which, Team Katja is embarking upon a fun journey to track how many of our wonderful readers will share stories with Katja! Since kicking off on January 9, an impressive 64 readers have delighted Katja with 82 books! Let's come together to reach an ambitious goal: help Katja experience 500 books by the end of 2024! Are you in?

Lastly, Katja visited the Downtown Branch after her Sit, Stay, Read shift at Dawe to roll dice for kids on Pokémon Day on February 27 and tell them what kind of dog Pokémon they are! She practiced wearing her Arcanine costume and proved that she is a fiercely brave and loyal Pokémon.

Katja, RDPL's Facility Service Dog, who is a chocolate lab, is laying down next to a matching Katja stuffie.  Katja reading with a child. Katja with a costume on

We hope you enjoyed our February 2024 highlights!