Have you ever noticed how much you read throughout the day? The Sylvan Lake Municipal Library wants you to report your reading on Jan. 26 or 27 as part of a literacy project called Read for 15.
All that’s required is for participants to read for 15 minutes on Jan. 26 or Jan. 27 and then report it to the library. They can report their activity on their favourite social media forum, email, call or come into the library. Readers can only report 15 minutes and can only report once over the two days.
“So it should be the entire population of Sylvan Lake reporting to the library,” said Caroline Vandriel, library director, adding that the 15 minutes of reading can include reading your emails or even your cereal box at breakfast. Another way to add to the number of readers is to read to your kids. If a mom is reading to her three kids for 15 minutes that counts as four readers.
“Most people don’t realize how much they’re reading in the course of the day,” Vandriel said.
Vandriel is one of four librarians who organized the project for Alberta. The project was initially created by the Northwest Territories Literacy Council and Libraries in Alberta adopted the project in an effort to promote Family Literacy Day, Jan. 27. Since Family Literacy Day falls on a Saturday, Vandriel decided to expand the event into two days, allowing for schools to report their reading to the library.
“A lot of our reporting comes from the schools because they usually do something for Family Literacy Day,” said Vandriel, also saying the reporting from the schools gives the library a “great boost in stats.”
As one of the organizers for the event, Vandriel has spent the last three years encouraging friendly competition by publicly saying no one could possibly compete against Sylvan Lake. However, the results so far have shown otherwise.
“When the results come in I kind of have to hide because all the other librarians in the province are making fun of me,” Vandreil said, tongue in cheek.
“It’s all in good fun,” she said.
The event was started with just one trophy, “The Most Readerly Community.” There are now three “intentionally” tacky trophies up for grabs this year: “Most Readerly Community,” “Most Reports to a Community,” and “Hustled Your Butt” (most improved from one year to the next).
The results are calculated by population percentage. This means smaller towns have a better chance of winning. Donalda has won the last two years in a row.
“I’m really counting on Sylvan Lake to pull through this year,” said Vandriel, adding she’s hoping she won’t have to be embarrassed at librarian meetings this year.
Vandriel’s goal is to get as many libraries across Alberta involved as possible for now and eventually wants to see the event happen Canada-wide.