What we do

Building a vibrant reading community

Our strength is in our connections. Thanks to our relationships with educators, families and community service providers, our programs and initiatives are being delivered directly to children where they learn and play – at home, at school and in the community.

Together, we provide children with the essentials to become thriving readers.

Opportunities to be immersed in a culture of reading

How Avery learned to love reading

Avery wasn’t a big fan of reading until a Calgary Reads volunteer helped her get better at it and see how magical books can be. Now Avery thinks books are “amazing things.”

Access to books they can keep


The average number of hours children spend in school every year. They spend 7,800 hours outside school.


Support from adults with the will and the skill to help them

“The support from Calgary Reads is awesome. Students are reading
more. They are getting books at home. Teachers are better equipped to teach literacy.”

Calgary Catholic School District

Here is the complete list of our Community initiatives, School programs and Collective impact activities.

Little Red Reading House

Our Little Red Reading House is a colorful, welcoming heritage house in Inglewood devoted to promoting the love of reading and early literacy. It’s an inspiring and inviting place where children can explore reading spaces, participate in fun literacy activities and choose a free book to take home and keep. We invite you to book your visit online. Learn more.

Calgary Reads Book Bank

Throughout the year, we accept new and gently used children’s book donations for families in need. The book bank relies on donations from the community to support our Little Red Reading House and other programs across Calgary, including our partnership with the Calgary Food Bank. Learn more.

Home Reading

We have lots of ideas on ways you can inspire young readers at home and lots of literacy resources to share. You’re bound to find something to spark a child’s interest in reading for purpose and pleasure. Explore our resources.

Random Acts of Reading

We like to remind people that reading can happen anywhere. We also enjoy showing how much fun reading can be by organizing random acts in the community such as book drops, literacy scavenger hunts or placing readers in unexpected places where they read aloud. These activities are great opportunities for team volunteering.

CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale

Each May we hold our biggest fundraiser of the year and it’s a must for book lovers! There are many ways to participate: donate books to our book bank, volunteer your time, or drop by to shop for some great new books for your home library. Learn more.

Little Free Libraries

Creating a Little Free Library is a fun way to share your love of reading while building a sense of community. We’ll help you find the right building plan and even supply a few books to get you started. Build a Little Free Library.

Become a Well Travelled Reader this summer! Download our map featuring the Little Free Libraries of Inglewood and follow on bike or foot to discover them all.

Read with Me

We connect with young families through our partnerships with public health, home visitation and community support staff to nurture an early love of reading in babies and toddlers. We also provide free books to families who need extra support. Learn more.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are not operating in schools, until further notice.

Introducing… The 3-6-9 Series

Why 3-6-9? At age 3, we’re helping children develop the vocabulary they need to be school-ready at age 6, and to be able to successfully make the shift at age 9 from learning to read, to reading to learn—so they can succeed in school and in life.

Each talk discusses the value of literacy and different ways to support early childhood learning.


The Lifelong Value of Early Literacy

3-6-9 Series Talk 2 – How Calgary Families Are Navigating COVID19

Join Suzanne Tough, PhD, principal investigator, All Our Families Study, to learn how COVID19 has been impacting Calgary families. This is Talk 2 in our 3-6-9 Series, as we explore some of the ways Calgary children are getting left behind this year, what it could mean for all of us in years to come, and what can be done.


The Power of Books: Reading, Mental Health and the Comfort Collection

Join Laurie Vermeylen, PolicyWise for Children & Families, as she shares results and insights from a recent review on the benefits of reading on mental health.

PolicyWise also recently led an evaluation of Calgary Reads’ Comfort Collection book bundles pilot. This pilot involved providing books and information about the importance of reading to Calgary Reads’ service delivery partners, who then shared those resources with client families. Agency partners were surveyed to explore their experience with the pilot and the response of families who received the book bundles, which are arranged in themes such as grief and loss, to help children navigate life experiences. This 3-6-9 presentation will share highlights from the literature review as well as findings from the Comfort Collection evaluation.