Calgary Public Library program pairs kindergarten kids with book bags

The Kindergarten Book Bag program is in its second year

By Krista Sylvester | September 2, 2022 |5:00 am

Families are encouraged to go to their nearest library to get their free kindergarten book bags.

Photo: Submitted

Playwright Sir Richard Steele once said that reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. 

That’s why a Calgary Public Library program that pairs book bags full of books for children entering kindergarten is so special. 

The Kindergarten Book Bag is a limited-edition canvas tote designed by the 2021 children’s artist and illustrator-in-residence, Isabelle Ackroyd.

Each bag includes library books for both the child and caregiver to celebrate the beginning of kindergarten, tips to get ready, a bookmark with age-appropriate resources, and a Fire Safety Activity booklet. 

Celebrating a big milestone 

While the books need to be returned like regular library items, the tote and printed materials are theirs to keep.  

This is the second year for the program. Last year, over 6,000 bags were handed out. This year, the library hopes to exceed that, according to Calgary Public Library service design lead Kate Schutz.

“Kindergarten is a big milestone for families, but especially for the kids themselves. The kindergarten kids feel really proud and important about starting school,” Schutz says. 

“We want to help caregivers, educators, and kids feel prepared for this transition and we want to celebrate them and this big achievement by giving them this keepsake bag.” 

It’s all about fun and learning 

The books are curated by staff who are experts in learning to read, and they’re designed for kindergarten-aged kids. 

“These books support school readiness by practicing counting and the alphabet, and there are books about going to school, about teachers, and friendships,” Shutz says. 

Families are encouraged to go to their nearest library to get their book bags, or they can request one ahead of time online for the next time they’re at the library. These bags will be available until early 2023 before a newly designed bag will be launched. 

The library’s production team also created a short video to walk parents through their children starting kindergarten. 

Laser City Laser Tag Read to Win program 

Meantime, Laser City Laser Tag has restarted its free reading program, Read To Win, which was on hiatus due the pandemic. 

The program offers teachers 50 pairs of free laser tag games to give away over the school year to students who complete reading sheets and put them into an entry box in their classroom.

Last year, 600 teachers signed up. This year, they’re hoping to get 1,000. Kits will be delivered to teachers mid-September. 

Teachers can sign up here and parents can learn more here.

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Krista Sylvester

Managing Editor at Calgary Citizen

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