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Giving the gift of literacy

BONNYVILLE - Some local families will have new books to cozy up to this holiday season.

After receiving an abundance of donations of youth books, the Bonnyville Municipal Library decided to spread the gift of literacy by launching their new program: Literacy Angels.

"Knowing the community, and it's the time for giving, I thought it would be a lovely idea to create some gifts and drop them off at organizations that knew of families that would be able to utilize them in the best way possible," explained library manager Leah Woodford.

A dozen or so packages of books were put together and distributed to local groups including the Bonnyville Friendship Centre and the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre's (DMSCC) Bonnyville outreach office. From there, they will find their way into the hands of local readers. 

"We trusted their knowledge on who they serve as to what families they would be giving them to, or utilizing in their space as required to support people they serve. It was a way for us to pay forward our appreciation of everything that the community does in supporting the library," Woodford expressed.

While there's no shortage of adult books being given to the local library, a recent donation containing children's, tween's, and young adult novels sparked Woodford's own imagination. 

When the door of the Bonnyville Friendship Centre opened to a Literacy Angel on Dec. 5, assistant executive director Pauline Mawer saw it as a great gift for those who utilize their services.

"I've been giving them away and they've been well received by my clients. I think it's an amazing idea and it gets the kids to read instead of playing video games," she noted.

Seeing people come together for the betterment of their community was another highlight for Mawer.

"(Leah) came in on her own, introduced herself, and what she was doing. She wants to work with us, we want to work with her, and I think it's a good thing when two organizations can work together for the greater good of the community."

Mawer and Woodford agreed books are gifts that keep on giving.

"It can be shared multiple times and enjoyed in multiple ways," exclaimed Woodford. "Not just with reading, but looking at the pictures for beginner readers... it's a component of literacy and having a (time) when a parent or caregiver shows the child what the words on the page mean are helping them make sense of the picture. Multiple conversations can be had over the pictures, words, and letters."

Mawer hopes the initiative encourages parents to spend more time at the local library. 

"The membership isn't that expensive and I think going to the library to read with your child or to pick out books, or even to play... (is a good thing). I take my grandchildren there and they always love to go."

Woodford's dream is that Literacy Angels becomes an annual tradition, however, that all depends on the donations that come into the library. 

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

Robynne Henry

About the Author: Robynne Henry

Reporter for the Bonnyville Nouvelle
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