Earlier last year, the Burns Lake Public Library opened its doors to a magical, enchanted forest in its building, in the form of the MacEwen Children’s Library. Last week, the library was able to celebrate this new, renovated, children’s’ library section with a grand opening.
The library first started renovations on its children’s section in June 2020, through a $42,000 funding from Burns Lake Rotary Club/MacEwen committee. However, due to COVID-restrictions, they weren’t able to have a grand opening for the new look.
Library director, Monica Willner, who was one of the biggest cheerleaders of this project right from the beginning, was excited that they were finally able to meet in person and have a grand celebration.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to properly celebrate the opening of this special place. Most of you know that the soft opening of the library took place in January 2021, so people had already seen this magical place. Even then, it was so exciting that we had 148 people walking through the doors for our grand opening,” said Willner.
The event also had story time, scavenger hunt and button making to keep the young ones entertained.
Along with the 148 community members, several people from the Burns Lake Rotary Club were also present. Lynn Synotte, Leone McHugh, Jack Brown and George Magee, who were on the MacEwen Committee spoke at the event. They personally knew Bruce and Ev MacEwen, after whom the children’s library section is named.
During the grand opening, Jennifer Petersen, the vice chair for the Burns Lake Public Library, representing the board of Trustees, spoke about what the project meant for the library, and about the artists behind the project.
Local artists Daphne Hourie, Steve Wilejto and Kerrwin Vandrwolf were the creators behind the Enchanted Forest. Staff members also invested several hours towards the project and Petersen expressed her gratitude towards all of them.
“It is worth mentioning that 95 per cent of the furniture was built locally. This not only supported the local economy and left smaller footprint on our environment, but also saved us lots of money and stretched the funds even further,” she added.
For Willner, this was a special day, especially because the library wasn’t able to host the grand opening earlier due to the pandemic. She has however already seen a lot of people come in to the children’s library since the soft opening, even before their busiest season – summer.
“We would like our community i.e., our patrons, especially the children, to see our library not just as a building that is a source for books. We want them to see our library as a safe place that is a source for imagination and creativity; a place to gain inspiration, motivation and most of all, knowledge,” she said.
The library is now gearing up for two of its major events for the year, one, is their book sale, and second, will be their Summer Reading Club. Details of both will be available soon on the library’s website, on its Facebook page, as well as at the library itself.