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Digitally Lit: Moncton teen uses social media to encourage others to read local


MONCTON, N.B. —
For 16-year-old Moriya Boyle, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than getting lost in a good book. An avid reader throughout her childhood, Boyle says life quickly became too busy for her to read as often as she would have preferred. That is until the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the world slowed down.

“Considering the world we’re living in today, with the pandemic and so many other movements going on, sometimes it just can be a lot and reading gives you an opportunity just to sit back, relax for just a moment and enjoy another life, I guess,” says Boyle.

Her love for reading led the Moncton High student to become a youth ambassador for Digitally Lit just over a year ago. The Atlantic Canadian organization was founded in 2019 and focuses on encouraging young adults to read novels by local authors. There are currently nine active youth ambassadors across Atlantic Canada.

Youth ambassadors are gifted free books in exchange for honest reviews posted to social media platforms for others to read.

In an effort to reach her target audience of people aged 13-25, Boyle decided to get creative with her reviews, posting cute and often comedic skits across multiple platforms like Instagram, Facebook and even TikTok.

“Social media has such a huge presence in everyone’s everyday life, and so I find it very important to bridge that gap between social media and literature. Reading just gives you so many benefits in the long run,” says Boyle.

Emma MacMillan is the acting adult and young adult librarian at the Moncton Public Library. She works with teenagers and young adults daily who say many of their book recommendations come from social media.

“Teens want to hear from their peers. They don’t want me, a 30-something-year-old woman, to tell them this book is cool. They need to hear it from their peers and something like ‘book-tubing’ or TikTok that’s something they can hear other teens talk about what they loved, and why they loved it,” says MacMillan.

Digitally Lit strategy coordinator, Robin Grant, says Boyle and the other ambassadors have far exceeded her expectations with their creative content.

“Creativity just abounds in this generation. They have access to so many more tools because of technology and they’re much more aware of technology and experienced with it, and they want their voices heard.”

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