After a year of COVID closures, libraries in the Northern Lights system have banded together to bring reading back to Alberta.
Fire fighters, retired CFL and NHL players, the Bonnyville Pontiacs and the company behind Pokémon GO! are donating their time to create spectacular reading programs for all ages.
Many rural libraries have seen membership drop over the past year and have had to get creative with their program delivery to accommodate closures and tightening budgets.
Libraries are now pooling their resources to create online programming that can be accessed province-wide every weekday in a bid to promote literacy and bring patrons back through their doors, be they physical or virtual.
Keith Shologan, formerly of the Montreal Alouettes, and Kyle Brodziak of the Detroit Redwings will be reading to children as part of the Hometown Hero Read-A-Long, while the Bonnyville Pontiacs signed up to read Twilight every Tuesday at 7:00 PM.
Niantic has turned the system’s libraries into Gyms and Towers in Pokémon GO! and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and donated plenty of swag for an augmented reality competition open to all residents of Northeastern Alberta. Patrons can compete for summer reading prizes by picking up Pokémon and Harry Potter themed mission booklets at their local library or printing them from the library’s website.
For the D&D crowd, librarians will be hosting child and teen/adult sessions of Lasers & Feelings.
More traditional programming will include trivia, guided crafts and experiments, and costume party story time, though these will be interspersed with sessions from yoga instructors and volunteers from the Sloth Conservation Foundation.
Librarians are hoping that this new approach to programming will help boost excitement around literacy while allowing them to provide more to their patrons without straining depleted resources.