Monthly Highlights: January 2024

Red Deer Public Library's Monthly Highlights - January 2024

Here are a few highlights from January 2024 at RDPL!

Family Literacy Day and the Read for 15 Challenge

Family Literacy Day is a national event that happens every January 27th to highlight the fun and importance of reading and participating in literacy-related activities as a family. This year, the theme was "Let's Have a Family Party," and we celebrated with a drop-in Family Literacy Day party at the Dawe Branch, with activities, snacks, and the opportunity to Read for 15 (more on this later!) with Katja, our Facility Service Dog. 

Five small children and one adult playing on a colourful mat with toys Three children and one adult reading to Katja, RDPL's facility service dog Red Deer's Mayor wearing a newsboy cap and glasses, holding a book with a red cover and wearing a Read for 15 pin

The party was in full swing when we saw Mayor Ken Johnston checking out a book that he was looking forward to reading, The Adversary, opens a new window by Michael Crummey, opens a new window, a Canadian author. In this book, Crummey explores dark themes of suffering and cruelty in a feud between two siblings, set in the Newfoundland of generations past. Mayor Johnston was delighted to be able to Read for 15 with Katja as well!

Library staff member holding certificate for the Read for 15 challenge.Okay, so you must be wondering what 'Read for 15' is?! In celebration of Family Literacy Day, many Alberta libraries take part in a friendly competition to see which of their communities can round up the most readers to read for at least 15 minutes on Family Literacy Day. This year's competition was stretched out over two days, giving Red Deerians extra time to do their reading and report back to the library to let us know they completed the challenge. While we didn't bring home the title of "Most Readerly" community, which went to Valleyview Municipal Library with 61.5% of their population participating, we did earn the award for having the highest percentage of reported readers in a community with a population over 70,000. We'll take it!

Reel Stories: The Perfect Activity for Those Freezing Cold Days!

Our drop-in film screenings of Reel Stories, opens a new window, which take place on select Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evenings, enjoyed an audience uptick as people sought shelter from the extreme cold in January. One customer said that he came to the library on the coldest night of the year seeking shelter but never did he imagine that a great movie (A Quiet Place, opens a new window) would be playing for him to watch to pass the time.

Mitts, toques, socks, and other warm winter wear collected on a library book cartSPARC's Winter Warm Up

RDPL was once again a drop-off location for SPARC Red Deer, opens a new window’s Winter Warm Up initiative, receiving over fifty donations of mitts, scarves, socks, toques, and other winter gear from the public between January 2 and 12. Local youth from Paint the Town Positive groups added handwritten notes before donations were distributed to those in need in the community.

Mindfulness for Kids and Adults

The Downtown Branch was filled with thoughts of loving kindness as Bhante Suseela, Spiritual Director of the Alberta Insight Meditation Centre, opens a new window, shared mindfulness practices in two sessions, one with a group of children and one with a group of adults. There was a chance to donate a book for a child or youth to a literacy project in Sri Lanka. Bhante Suseela will be bringing these to Sri Lanka this summer. 

Blue-ish miniature book with gold details attached to a silver chainCrafting for Adults: Mini Book Necklaces

Our Trash to Treasure craft program participants loved the mini-book necklace session! We used recycled paper, cardboard, and paper bags to create this cute necklace. Participants were eager to recreate the mini-book at home in different sizes, or with their kids.

Lives Fully Lived, with Special Guest Mary Gardiner

Lives Fully Lived, opens a new window is a series of conversations with remarkable persons who share their expertise and experience on a life lived in crescendo.

“Living in Crescendo is a way of approaching life through making contributions to others and always looking at what’s ahead for you to accomplish. In the same way that music builds on the previous notes, life, too, builds on the past and unfolds in the future.” Stephen Covey Live Life in Crescendo, opens a new window

In January, we met Mary Gardiner, who shared her experiences taking the risks that life brought to her. Her life has been full and so remarkable! As a teaser, she went to New York and was in the stands at Yankee Stadium for a home run hit by Mickey Mantle. 

Two people seated at a table with a chess board on it, reaching down and petting Katja, the library's facility service dog, who is wearing a vestKatja Steps Up to Help Reduce Exam Anxiety

Team Katja visited St. Joseph High School to reduce exam anxiety and promote RDPL's programs and collections for teens. This was Katja’s third visit to the school since January 2023 and she was, once again, a hit!

Adult Literacy Program Highlights

The Adult Literacy Program welcomed 16 new tutors and 33 new learners in January. Twenty nine pairs were matched, with 169 learners still on the waitlist. In order to provide some learning opportunities to individuals on the waitlist, the Adult Literacy Program started 7 language learning classes. 114 learners are currently enrolled in the classes that focus on different levels of English language learning. Additional volunteer tutors are desperately needed, so if you are able to donate your time to work one-on-one with an adult learner, please check out, opens a new window or contact the Adult Literacy department at 403-346-2533 or

Man with glasses and white hair - Perry, Home Service volunteer - standing in front of a white brick wall with a plaque reading Alberta Historical Resources FoundationOutreach Bin Program

The Outreach Bin Programs reach approximately fifty residents of Aspen Ridge, Bethany Care, and Taylor View Towers, who receive bins of books each month from RDPL for their residents to borrow. Meet Perry Reed (pictured here), a new volunteer for the program, who will be exchanging bins with Aspen Ridge the first Wednesday of the month and with Taylor View Towers the second Wednesday of the month. Thank you, Perry!

Telus STORYHIVE Update

In 2023, Red Deer Public Library was awarded a TELUS STORYHIVE, opens a new window grant to produce a 6 episode series about the library. Filming took place during the fall and winter of 2023 and is still ongoing, with Episode 1 and 2 nearing completion. The full six episodes will be made available to the public later this year (Fall 2024) both on TELUS On Demand and on YouTube. To learn more about this project, read the Press Release here, opens a new window

Here is a sneak peek of the filming process and the cover image for the first episode: 

Be a Part of the Story Neon Sign, with words Welcome to Red Deer Public Library. Season 1, Episode 1

Shout out to Simon!

A library customer reached out to RDPL to book a One-on-one Tech Help, opens a new window session. She specifically requested staff member Simon, as she had previously witnessed him interacting with another library customer during a Tech Help session. She was so impressed by his patience and courteous nature, and was extremely elated to be able to book in with him! Great work, Simon!

Beach Day at RDPL!

Following the cold snap in January, library staff were in the mood for some summer vibes! We decided to have a Beach Day at all branches on January 30th, where library staff donned their beachiest (while still work-appropriate!) ensembles. Stay tuned for our next random dress-up day – you just never know what you're going to see when you walk through our doors 😉

Library staff dressed in beachwear at the main desk at the Downtown Branch Library staff dressed in beachwear in the program room at the Timberlands Branch

We hope you enjoyed our January 2024 highlights!