Ingram Blog

Let's Get Crafty

Beth Reinker, MSLS, Manager, Collection Development Adult Materials

Over the last year, I’ve watched my husband go from a woodworking novice to a skilled artisan. Even though he’s still learning, he quickly progressed to making beautiful things including the new mid-century modern bar cart that now resides in our dining room. (It’s easy to support his new hobby when it has such obvious benefits for me!) He loves the sense of accomplishment he has from making something new.

My husband also says that his new hobby relieves stress, but is there actual proof of that? In addition to the satisfaction people get from making things by hand, there really are documented health benefits for crafters. “This Is Your Brain on Crafting,” a recent CNN article, explains that scientists are now finding evidence of the benefits of crafting. The article notes, “Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by aging.” It goes on to say that a repetitive activity like knitting can even “activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which quiets that ‘fight or flight’ response.”

In addition to the health benefits, crafting can be an affordable hobby. (Yes, I realize those of you with yarn addictions may disagree.) Most arts and crafts require only a few basic tools to begin. With minimal investment, you can create a variety of projects using basic patterns and instructions. Library books and online videos make learning those skills so much easier. There are step-by-step instructions for almost any project you could imagine.

Whatever the reasons for the resurgence in crafting, it has become clear there is a real movement happening across the country. TV networks have even gotten in on the fun. NBC’s Making It is a crafting competition hosted by Parks and Recreation alumni Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. (Offerman is a woodworker. Learn more about that in his book Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop. A new book tied to the show, The Making It Guide to Crafting, will be published in May, and the show was just renewed for a third season.

There are many opportunities for libraries to be part of the maker movement. While many of us think of craft programs for children and teen patrons, some libraries have great success hosting crafting programs for adult patrons too. Everett Public Library in Washington hosts a program called Create @ the Library in which adults participate in a variety of craft projects; South Brunswick Public Library in New Jersey has a similar program called Adult Crafternoons. For more ideas, visit Programming Librarian where you can search by audience, program type, and budget to learn about other libraries’ successful programs.

If you notice increased interest in crafting among your library’s patrons, it may be time to update your collection. Ingram has the tools you need to build a crafting collection your patrons will love. For some specialized craft lists, visit our Virtual Book Display section. This is where we house curated lists on trending topics you can use to augment your collection or build a quick display. Right now, you can find lists on knitting, woodworking, and crochet, but those lists change regularly, just like displays in your library.

We also maintain a subject list of Craft and Hobby Titles updated with popular new titles several times a year. The list focuses on a wide array of new and forthcoming craft and hobby titles so that we can always help you refresh your craft collection with brand-new titles. It’s the perfect way to treat your crafty patrons.

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