Library project provides good, creative space for kids
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Digital Creator has been operating in the community media room of the Sioux Lookout Public Library for just over a year, and they’ve produced good results ever since.
Just over a year ago the library was one of six locations across Northern Ontario to begin a two-year pilot project started by the Near North Mobile Media lab of North Bay. Since it started in Sioux Lookout, many young people have been participating.
“I have a few dedicated groups that come in most days after school,” said Digital Creator program lead Laine Helbling. “We have a digital photography club every Monday after school that’s starting to evolve into filmmaking, which is really exciting to watch.
“There’s a video game night twice a week which is pretty popular, and then drop-in where the kids can do whatever they like.”
During March break, Digital Creator hosted daily events such as video game nights, stop motion workshops, and drop-ins where the programming is totally up to the kids. Unlike school, Digital Creator is a space where kids choose to come, and it’s having positive effects for the children who are participating.
“They come here to pursue passion projects and, through those projects, they are empowered in their own learning. As the program lead, it’s inspiring to watch. The skills they develop here aren’t just technical. They’re learning how to collaborate, experiment, and problem solve and it’s completely self-directed,” Helbling explained.
Digital Creator is providing people in the North with the means of not only being consumers of media, but being creators of it as well. Helbling mentioned that the program has positive effects beyond the digital abilities of storytelling.
“Our world is saturated in digital media. It is so important for youth in the North to embrace the possibilities of digital mediums, not only as a creative outlet, but also as a means to positively affect social, emotional, and intellectual well-being.”