The three artists, Steve Wilejto, Daphne Hourie and Kerrwin Vanderwolf while working on the renovations for the children’s library inside Burns Lake Public Library. (Priyanka Ketkar photo)

Burns Lake Public Library undergoing renovations in the Children’s Library

Creating an imaginative, creative space for kids in the community to thrive in

  • Aug. 5, 2020 12:00 a.m.

The Burns Lake Public Library’s children’s section is undergoing major renovations and face-lift to create an imaginative, creative space for kids in the community.

Last year, several improvements were made to the upper level of the library with support from the Village of Burns Lake. The lower level where the Children’s Library is located remained the same as before with minor improvements.

“We did not want to settle for just small improvements. The place was a room with a few plywood shelves and many books. When parents with children walked in, they were definitely not getting the feeling of an inviting space,” said Library Director Monika Willner. “I always thought that the children’s library space should stimulate our little ones imagination and awaken their curiosity for adventure. We started to dream about changing the entire space.”

The library then presented a renovation plan to the Burns Lake Rotary Club/MacEwen Committee to secure funding and a total of $42,000 was secured by the library for this project.

Earlier last month, the library started the renovation of the space.

“We are really excited for the changes in progress. It helped us a little to make the closure for Covid a little bit more exciting. We are closed downstairs so no one can enter at this time so we that we could actually do the renovations,” said Willner.

The renovations revolve around the “Enchanted Forest” theme with some beautiful murals and three-dimensional structures in the works.

“Children learn visually. So, if we can surround them with a visual portal into the magical world found in story books, we might more readily spark up the desire within them to read more,” said Willner.

The project is being delivered by three local artists, Daphne Hourie who is an artist by profession, Kerrwin Vanderwolf, an arts student and Steve Wilejto, a professional artist as well as teacher.

“Monika spearheaded a complete overhaul of the children’s library down here so we are turning into a more kid-friendly, inviting, imaginative kind of a creative space with all sorts of fun stuff going on,” said Wilejto who is a visual arts teacher at the high school.

The library is hoping to create a visually striking downstairs area and reveal it all at once instead of giving away the surprise.

“We wouldn’t want to have a sneak-a-peak for the public right now and I think we are creating something very special and we would like to show this first time to everyone and we hope that everyone would be as excited as us,” said Willner, adding that there however is no timeline on when these renovations would be completed.

“One cannot rush creativity; it is going to take until it is done,” said Hourie.

The renovation plans have already undergone quite a lot of changes and have evolved from the original picture according to Willner who is very excited to turn this into a dream-space for children.

“We would like our community (our patrons), especially the children, to see our library not just as a building that is a source for books. We want them also to see our library as a building that is a source for imagination and creativity; a place to gain inspiration, motivation and most of all, knowledge,” she said and hoped that a visually stimulating place to learn would give the youth of the community a better chance to make positive changes in both our world and theirs.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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