The Red Deer Public Library is always trying to find different ways to reach a wider audience and over the last few weeks, they’ve added a new resource to do so.
Two weeks ago, the library introduced several new inclusivity backpacks in order to provide better resources for kids and parents alike.
Each bag features two books, some sort of toy and an activity or a game. They also come with a learning guide, that walks parents or educators through different discussions and activities that they can work on with their children. There are also a few items in each backpack that the borrower gets to keep. You can take the bag home for three weeks, just like a regular library book.
“One of our staff members learned about these boxes, from a company called ByUs Box and she learned about it in a webinar on sexual orientation and gender identity and inclusiveness in libraries,” said Candice Putnam, manager at the Red Deer Public Library.
“When she heard about the product, she thought it would be a great fit for us because we have been adding so many of these educational and literacy backpacks to our collection.”
Library staff converted the boxes to bags, to make it easier to lend out and they came at a perfect time, to help celebrate Central Alberta Pride Week, happening from Aug. 9-14. The library is offering ‘LGBT2SQ+ and Families’ and ‘Gender Expansive’ bags which fit nicely with Pride Week.
“With these resources and any of our diverse collections we are essentially hoping to broaden perspectives, celebrate diversity and encourage empathy, inclusion and acceptance,” Putnam said.
“We also want to provide parents with quality resources to help teach their children the importance of acceptance, kindness and that all people deserve to be celebrated for who they are.”
The library also has five different staff book lists that help underscore the need for acceptance and inclusiveness. Those lists were originally put together for Pride Month in June but still offer a good place for parents and kids alike to find good resources.
“There are so many great resources out there, but being able to find the good ones and connect people with them is really important to us,” Putnam said.