Bring the joy of reading into your life

Alumna Michaela Ritchie shares ways to celebrate Family Literacy Day all year long



Alumna Michaela Ritchie at the new Calgary Central Library, taken by Samuel Obadero

Shortly after graduating, Michaela Ritchie (Bachelor of Communication — Journalism, 2018) landed her dream job as Social Media and Digital Content Specialist with the Calgary Public Library — and she’s been enjoying a wild ride ever since.

Most recently, Ritchie was quoted in the New York Times article "In a Year of Abrupt Transitions, a Trip to Tahiti. And Calgary.," calling Calgary’s Central Library “Calgary’s living room.” Earlier in 2019, Ritchie was named a finalist in SocialWest’s Hashtag Awards in the Best Community Manager category.

Given her life-long passion for all things literary, we asked Ritchie to share tips for making reading a bigger part of your family’s day-to-day life in recognition of Family Literacy Day on Jan. 27. Here's what she said.


Reconnect with the written word

If you’re a Mount Royal University graduate, then you’re already familiar with the importance of reading. It would have played a large role in how you learned during your time at school — it may have even helped you decide what you wanted to study in the first place. But even the most voracious readers can fall into a slump. If you’ve been too busy to read since leaving your textbooks behind, Family Literacy Day is a great time to reconnect with the written word.

"Celebrated each year on Jan. 27, Family Literacy Day proclaims the importance of families reading together, and participating in other activities that help grow literacy — including writing, critical thinking and creative problem solving. Though reading is often considered a solitary activity, your local libraries have a lot to offer families looking to share in the joy of reading together. This Family Literacy Day, we recommend you check out these incredible free resources."

For readers in Calgary

If you call Calgary home, then good news — you’re already a member of the Calgary Public Library family. All you have to do is activate your free Library membership

The largest library system in Alberta, the Calgary Public Library currently serves over 740,000 members at 21 locations across our city. Focused on innovating and finding new ways to engage you and your family in learning, this library is about so much more than just books. 

1. Check out Early Learning Centres

Early Learning Centres at 12 Library locations are vibrant and interactive spaces, designed to help little learners grow through play. Since healthy development in early childhood sets the course for your children’s future, it’s never too early to help your child discover their love of learning (and books) in these imaginative spaces.

2. Spend quality time together through free Library programs

Looking to spend some quality time together on Family Literacy Day? Check out some free Library programs! Grow a reader at Read, Sing, and Play through stories, songs, and rhymes that are fun for the whole family. If your kids want to grow up to be a firefighter, then drop in for Firefighter Storytime with Library staff and a real Calgary Fire Department firefighter — and don’t forget to pick up your new Fire Safety Activity Book during your visit.


For readers outside of Calgary

If you live in rural southern Alberta, you belong to the Marigold Library System, the third largest in the province. This network of knowledge covers 44 different municipalities, so there’s something new to be found at each physical location. There’s also an extensive library of digital reading resources available to every member.

3. Go digital

Libby, by OverDrive, has quickly become the gold standard for eBook and audiobook borrowing across Canada — goodbye, Audible subscription! This free app transforms your mobile devices into an ereader and audiobook player, making hundreds of thousands of titles available right at your fingertips.

4. Share your love of literature with your littles

For the tiniest bibliophile in your family, check out TumbleBook Library. Readers who are just discovering their love of books can listen and watch along as animated stories are read aloud to them. It’s the perfect teaching tool for parents to start sharing their love of literature with their kids.


Just for Alumni

Of course, alumni always have another library option available to enjoy: the Riddell Library and Learning Centre, which opened in 2018. Alumni have free lifetime membership, which grants access to catalogues, workspaces, studios and more. All you need to do to access the perks of this space is update your alumni contact information and sign up for your Alumni OneCard — the only card MRU family need to tap into all campus benefits.

library-for-web.jpgChildren enjoying the Children's Collection at MRU's Riddell Library and Learning Centre

5. Get creative

Want to work on your creativity this Literacy Day? Specialized spaces at Riddell include the Immersion Studio, Experience Lab and Maker Studio. Alumni have abundant opportunities to build and create in these spaces, engaging different kinds of literacy skills. Keep an eye on the community calendar to see what upcoming courses are available to your and your family as MRU insiders. 

6. Learn together by borrowing games, non-fiction and more

Both the Children's Collection and Curriculum Collection offer fantastic tools for families to learn together. Browse the latest fiction, non-fiction and bestsellers on the second floor. Make your way to the third floor for activity books, books for kids, and even games for a fun-filled family game night. You can sign out up to 25 items at once, so there’s no limit to what you can discover.

Learn more about accessing the Riddell Library this Family Literacy Day and sharing the joy of reading with your family.


Jan. 27, 2020 ― Michaela Ritchie

Michaela is one of our Alumni Contributors. Would you like to share your time and talent with us by contributing stories or other content? Email Julie, Senior Alumni Relations Officer at

More about Michaela:

In her time at the Library, she has overseen an overall follower increase on their social accounts of more than 50 per cent. Ritchie is also an avid volunteer. For the past decade, she has given her time to When Words Collide, a Calgary convention for readers and writers, both as a volunteer and panelist. She is a prose editor for FreeFall Magazine, and serves on the board of the FreeFall Literary Society. She has previously leant her talent to the Calgary Journal, Where Magazine, Essential Magazine, Tourism Calgary, and hosted an MRU Alumni event during her time as a student. Say hello to her online at @wordsbyritchie.