Wakaw Public Library Creates Community

Carol Baldwin/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/ Wakaw Recorder Classical Guitarist Sean Bougie at the Wakaw Library.

Carol Baldwin
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Wakaw Recorder

The Wakaw Public Library has been a busy place on Saturday mornings for the last month or two with a few special events from guest authors to live music and of course, the mural reveal.

This year, Saskatchewan Library Week took place from October 15 – 21, 2023, with the theme being “Libraries Create Community” and the Wakaw Library has been doing its part to do just that. With the announcement that Kids Club would not be running this past summer, the library quickly stepped up to offer activities for youngsters in the community with movie afternoons, robotic mice, activities in the “Great Outdoors” courtesy of KidsFirst, and hoola hoop games to name but a few.

In August the library hosted children’s author Amber Antymniuk, author of H is for Home, Grandpa’s Garage, and a new book Grandma’s Garden, at the Tuesday morning Storytime. Antymniuk, a member of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, grew up on an acreage just outside of Tisdale. As a teacher with degrees in visual and fine arts, her illustrations along with the rhythmic flow of her story kept her young audience enthralled.

Then on Sept. 23, author Candace Savage gave a book talk relating to her most recent book Strangers in the House: A Prairie Story of Bigotry and Belonging. Presented by the Wakaw Library Board in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Savage is the award-winning author of more than two dozen books including A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape, Prairie: A Natural History, and Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies and Jays.

On Oct. 21 classical guitarist Sean Bougie made the trip from Saskatoon where he teaches guitar at Studio 12 Music and Dance Co., to share the beauty of classical music with those who were in attendance. Sean has been nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year in the first annual Saskatchewan Indigenous Music Association Awards.

As one audience member later said, “There is just something so soothing about classical music played on the guitar. It makes me want to find more on YouTube.”

Saskatchewan Library Week (SLW) is a province-wide, annual event the SLA has proudly presented since 1976, that promotes the wonderful resources and services that libraries have to offer. This week-long event is held the third week in October each year and celebrated throughout the province in rural and urban communities, in all types of libraries, and by all age groups.

The Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) is a provincial, volunteer, non-profit organization designed to further the development of library service in Saskatchewan and, through libraries, the culture of the province. Originally formed in 1914, the Saskatchewan Library Association (SLA) was comprised of a group of seventeen people from urban centres who pressed the government to take steps to provide rural communities with library facilities, however by 1918 the Association ceased to exist.

Fast-forward to April 27, 1942, and the SLA was formed once again and in its first ten years, helped to revolutionize the whole concept of libraries and librarianship in Saskatchewan. The Library Act was overhauled, grants were increased, scholarships were set up, a Regional Libraries Act was passed, the Provincial and Legislative Libraries were changed and expanded, an archives department was established, expenditures increased fifty-fold, and more professionals were hired.

In 1976, the SLA began sponsoring Saskatchewan Library Week (SLW), which had been established one year earlier by an ad hoc group of librarians. Formerly held in March, Library Week is now held the third week in October. The Summer Reading Program was initiated in 1977.

In 2000, SLA teamed up with the Saskatchewan Provincial Library and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to distribute computers to libraries for Internet use in lower-income areas in the province. A total of $951,675.79 was donated, 107 computers were purchased, and several libraries were connected to High-Speed Internet. This project was completed in 2002.

In this year’s promotion of Library Week, the Saskatchewan Library Association proclaimed that libraries foster learning, are inclusive spaces, and provide access to technology. Through the list of activities, the Wakaw Public Library has offered in just the last three months, it cannot be questioned that it does indeed do all those things and more. Without the library, the community would be a lesser place and it is an asset that should not be taken for granted.

A circulation blitz is ongoing until the end of November and to maximize the hours the library is open; residents need to maximize its circulation. So, get out and check out the variety of items the library has for loan and borrow a book…or ten.