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Librarian in Residence: DIY books of all kinds

By Jessica Green on April 5, 2014

Jessica Green is a book addict and library card holder since the age of 3. She’s a librarian at the Ottawa Public Library and currently the Apartment613 Librarian-in-Residence, sharing a compendium of literary thoughts and tips.

I’ve simply had enough of this incessant winter or not-spring as the season seems to be. In times like this, I get creative, so I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the books we have about all kinds of creativity. Creative hobbies are good for you as they give an outlet to your imagination and they help reduce stress.

This also taps into what is being called the “Maker Movement”, which is this back to basics, making things from scratch style of creating. Mark Frauenfelder, editor of Make magazine and one of the co-founders of Boing Boing, writes about the handmade movement in the book Made by Hand. From the back of the book: “DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits.”

As Making is such a BIG topic, you can look at it from say knitting, crochet, printmaking, electronics, woodworking, sewing, gardening ……..or if you can’t make up your mind on a single type of craft, why not try something like Made By Hand by Lena Corwin or try anything under the “handicraft” subject heading. You can even look at some lists, like one created by a colleague which is a really interesting list of books showing off many different aspects of making.

The other part of making isn’t so much creating something permanent, but rather hands on learning. Makerspaces are becoming increasingly popular in libraries all over and allow both children and adults hands on experience and skills building with tools they may not have access to at home. Here are some books along this making/experiential theme: Geek Mom, Make: Tinkering, Geek Dad, Made by Dad, Unbored and Fashioning Technology to mention but a mere sampling of what we have in the stacks. Many are designed as guidebooks for adults to work with kids on projects, but why not try some projects yourself. Mentos and coke never gets old.