Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Crafting Workshop Works for Brooklyn Library

There is much talk in class about tailoring the library's offerings to meet the needs of the community and about making libraries relevant to single adults in their 20s and 30s. A branch of Brooklyn Public Library has succeeded on both fronts.

Image via http://yoursecretadmiral.tumblr.com

BPL's Greenpoint branch hosts a crafting workshop called Greenpoint Hand Skills. Meeting the first Saturday of every month, the workshop attracts the artistic 20 and 30 somethings who in recent years have been increasingly making up the surrounding community. Greenpoint Hand Skills has proven to be so popular that the workshops, which are limited to 12 to 15 adults, fill up quickly.

"Adults can be an especially difficult demographic to crack program-wise, especially 20 and 30-year-olds (unless they're parents), which is what I think makes the success of the Hand Skills program so impressive," said Robert A. Simic, neighborhood library supervisor, to Library Journal.

The branch manager and program coordinator of the Greenpoint library, Kure Croker, enlisted Kim Grassie Konen and Julie Schneider to create and run the workshop. Both Konen and Schneider are closely affiliated with Etsy, the hugely popular online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods. Konen and Schneider are sellers on Etsy, and Konen is employed at Etsy headquarters.

On a volunteer basis, Konen and Schneider conduct Greenpoint Hand Skills, leading classes on knitting and the making of zines, bracelets, change purses, ornaments, and much more. They buy the supplies for the classes but are reimbursed by the library or by the group Friends of the Greenpoint Library. 

Branch manager and program coordinator Croker ties the Greenpoint Hand Skills program into the library's collection by curating a selection of titles that match the theme of each month's workshop. The coordinated efforts of Croker, Konen, and Schneider, which include word of mouth and publicizing Greenpoint Hand Skills through social media, have made the program a success.

Speaking to LJ, Schneider said, "Greenpoint Hand Skills carries on a tradition of sharing creativity and knowledge in a community setting that can be traced through history with things like quilting bees, knitting circles, potlucks, and DIY skill shares. As such, it fits right in as a piece of the DIY and maker movement that is carrying handmade skills and pursuits into this present digital age."

To keep up with what Greenpoint Hand Skills is doing, or to find out about upcoming workshops, check it out on Facebook and Flickr.

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