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Get Caught Reading!

Calgary Public Library

Innovation Leader: Cathy Freer-Leszczynski , Manager, Community Services , cathy.freer-leszczynski@calgarypubliclibrary.com

Problem Statement

Calgary Public Library is a public champion for the importance of literacy as an essential skill that is the foundation for success. The 2004 Calgary Literacy Needs Assessment found that 8% of the population of Calgary (over 57,000 people) has serious difficulties with any type of printed material and a shocking 31% (nearly 235,000) struggle with all but the simplest reading and writing. Strong literacy skills are vital in today’s world. There are close connections between literacy levels and social and economic indicators that show that an investment in literacy results in improved outcomes. The Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey, presented by the Organization of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and Statistics Canada, released May 11, 2005, states that investment in literacy is important. “The ripple effect of making that investment is manifold: happier, safer, more secure and financially rewarded employees; greater efficiency in the workplace; a healthier community less burdened by the cost of health care delivery; and a more robust and competitive economy”.

Innovation

Get Caught Reading is an important, fun way in which Calgary Public Library, Calgary Transit, and high profile celebrities and public figures can raise awareness of the importance of reading and literacy. Calgary Public Library and Calgary Transit caught and rewarded over 3100 reading commuters during the 2nd annual Get Caught Reading event. An official proclamation was delivered by Alderman Joe Ceci who also joined the Street Reading Team surprising Calgarians and delighting readers.

Calgary Get Caught Reading! in celebration of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Street Reading Teams are planning an amazing “Get Caught Reading race” where Calgarians will be caught and rewarded with scarves and bookmarks for reading while in transit.

Progress

Bookmarks of iconic athletes were a 2010 innovation in the third year of Get Caught Reading. Marketing & Development and Community Services strategized a unique way to tie the promotion into Olympic fever. The poster size photos were circulated to larger branches to be on display during the month.

Calgary Transit continues to be a partner in this promotion providing access to C-trains, platforms and representatives to participate in the launch event. The launch was seen in 6 media outlets and the profile of the library was raised.