Teen program at library fills the final gaps

The Estevan Public Library now has all the bases covered.

With adult and children’s programming in place for some time now, the library added the role of teen program co-ordinator to the roster with the arrival of Jolie Walliser who has been fielding requests and ideas for young people between the ages of 13 and 19 since October of last year.

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Walliser is familiar with the southeast Saskatchewan landscape as a native of Bienfait and Estevan. She attended Weldon School and Estevan Comprehensive School prior to her enrollment at the Centre for Arts and Technology (CATO) in Kelowna B.C. for a one-year, art-based course where she focused on photography.

The library assignment is a part-time position which allows her to pursue her photography career that makes good use of her training.

Since last winter, Walliser said she has been developing weekly programs for teens with a variety of hands-on work that includes artistic pursuits, cooking, some Nintendo challenges and a Harry Potter Club. There is even the return of the good old standby, tie-dying experience.

“The library and the programming gives these people a place to go and some good experiences. We have a yoga instructor who has been scheduled, and I’ve reached out to ECS to see if there are a few more students there who might be taking English as another language, who might be interested,” she said.

Clients with Estevan Diversified Services also get regular opportunities to explore the programs.

Growing interest in the Japanese-based Manga Club, is not lost on Walliser. The group meets in the library regularly and features sketching, costumes, games and a wonderful world of graphic designs and characters.

This month the teens at the library will be enjoying a Teen Freestyle Art experience that will take them into a visual or written art experience in a relaxed environment.

“They will have some snacks and at the same time, an opportunity to express themselves in whatever format they care to use,” said Walliser.

Wii Wednesdays are documentary days at the library and its popularity has prompted the need for advance registration, as do a few other programs that have grown in numbers.

The usual turnout, said Walliser, is between four and 12 participants.

“There is a book club for young adults. It has definitely grown. That’s usually held on the last Thursday of each month.”

Most of the activities take place after school and on holidays when school isn’t in session.

On April 22, the teens will be building and promoting a terrarium for Earth Day and will be discussing the environment.

“There is always something to plug into the schedule. There is no shortage of ideas and a freestyle event we’re planning could be super fun,” she added.

Walliser said that while classes that might involve young people as young as 13 and as old as 19 could lead to some awkward exchanges and interactions, that really hasn’t happened because the prevailing atmosphere is one of exploration and learning with others, no matter what the age differences are.

“They are here because they want to be here, so they are showing a lot of respect for one another and respect for the instructors,” Walliser added.

“All these programs are free. We provide the supplies and we are able to do it within our budget, so far,” she said.

The library does have a Giving Tree on display though for those who do feel they would like to donate supplies or extra specific items for any of the other programs the library has to offer. 

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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