Hook & Needle: 16th Century Skills into the 21st Century

Continuing the great success we had with last year’s Happy Hookers: Crochet for Beginners class, Boone County Public Library will be offering Hook & Needle, a new series of craft classes, at the Main Library in 2015. These are single meeting, project based crochet and knitting classes offered throughout the year. We wanted to be able to offer classes to crafters at all skill levels and have them leave with what they need to complete a project in just one class. The series will start with a set of three beginner’s level classes -a crochet scarf (January), an arm-knit infinity scarf (February) and a crochet beanie (March) with future classes announced in the the Discover newsletter.  The idea behind the Hook & Needle classes came from the great success we have had over the last few years with other crochet class programs and the library’s participation in International Yarn Bomb day in June.

In the beginningwarmmup america there were granny squares… The first major crochet project we put on was a community charity quilt through Warm Up America in 2011.  Participants attended a beginner’s class to learn the granny square pattern and pick up the supplies to make squares for what would become a queen-sized blanket that was donated to the Women’s Crisis Center in Hebron.  It took ten of us about two months to complete the 4- square blanket seen in the picture.

Why is the Library wearing a Sweater? The Main Library yarnbegan participating in International Yarn Bomb Day in 2013. Every year on June 8, crafters around the world “yarn bomb” buildings, statues, trees, and even bridges by wrapping them in crochet or knitted pieces. Yarn bombs are really communal art installations, a chance to come together and do something fun as a group that the whole community can then enjoy.  We have been wrapping the pillars on either side of the door, adding a third pillar in 2014.  For 2015, we have plans to “bomb” the statue of Mary Draper Ingles – Look for a class especially for the yarn bomb in May.

Ruffle Scarf Explosion Up until September of 2013, all the crochet classes had been small, around ten people at the most attended, but all that changed with the Ruffle Scarf class. What started as one 20 person class, quickly became three classes as the wait lists filled twice. It was an overwhelming success and would lead to an interesting experiment the next year.

From Beginner to Blanket in one year After the ruffle scarf class, we Happy Hooking- final (1)knew we had the audience for more classes and we embarked on a very ambitious project. Happy Hookers: Crochet for Beginners would be a year-long, monthly class that would teach a new pattern each month. At the end of 2014, each participant had a nine block sampler blanket, participated in the yarn bomb, and made a block for a blanket that will be donated to Project Linus. Each block that the class learned added something new to their crochet knowledge — be it a new stitch or technique.

We are excited to offer the Hook & Needle series at the Main Library over the coming year, and look forward to sharing these great heritage skills. For the more experienced crafters, BCPL is continuing the popular In the Loop, a crochet and knitting group that meets every Monday at 10 am at Florence Branch. There is also a new teen crafting meet-up at Scheben Branch called Threading Thursdays that meets the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm.


Katie Widener, a Burlington native, attended U of L and UK before becoming a Reference Librarian at Main Library in 2011. When she’s not crocheting, she is usually found geeking out over something- be it Harry Potter (Slytherin house rules!) or comic books.

Earn, Spend, Save!

You may have already seen in our January newsletter that BCPL is bringing back “Earn Spend Save,” our year-long financial education initiative for everyone, from preschoolers to senior citizens. We’re also excited to say that this is possible because of another $100,000 Smart Investing@your Library grant, a partnership between the American Library Association and the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) Investor Education Foundation. Once again, BCPL is partnering with the Brighton Center (http://www.brightoncenter.org/ ) to bring Earn Spend Save to Boone County.

So what’s in store for this year? One of the activities that we knew we had to bring back was the Money Matters Meal Night. Families loved that theyP1530948 lo res could sit down for a free meal with the entire family and then attend fun and engaging financial workshops for all ages. This year, topics for adults include budgeting, credit building and investments. But it’s the kids that get to have the real fun (while learning, too!). Activities for children and teens include “choconomics,” stock market games and sessions built around their favorite characters like Max and Ruby. The first Meal Night of the year is on Wednesday, January 21, at 6 p.m. at the Main Library. Registration is required, however, so we know P1540074 lo reshow much food to get! Visit http://www.bcpl.org/earn-spend-save for more information and to register. You do not have to be part of a family to attend. Money Matters Meal Nights are for anyone with an interest in the topics.

For this second round of Earn Spend Save, we also really wanted to engage the youngest members of our community and support their understanding of financial literacy and economic concepts. One of the most exciting and ambitious ways we are taking this is on is through a partnership with Burlington Elementary School. During the entire year of 2015, BCPL will literally “set up shop” in the school with a school-wide store. Students will earn “Eagle Bucks” by completing various tasks as assigned by their teacher. After saving wisely and receiving lessons on financial education, they can spend their bucks on small prizes and incentives.

For preschoolers (ages 3-5), play-based learning experiences are integral to our programming activities at the Library. With the grant, BCPL is creating dramatic play kits that will help children explore real life career roles while building early math and financial concepts. Nine kits will be for use at library locations and twenty kits will be given to childcare centers in Boone County. Childcare centers that receive the kits will also obtain training in effectively utilizing the materials in the classroom. For older children in Boone County (ages 6-11), the Library is developing several curriculum kits for elementary school classroom use that support the state standards covering economic concepts. These kits will be accompanied by a traveling library that will include professional materials and fiction and non-fiction titles for kids that support what they are learning in school in fun ways.

All of these activities will culminate in a Family Financial Fitness Fair on Saturday, September 19, 2015. The Fair will feature a day full of workshops on topics such as budgeting, saving techniques, identity theft, and more! You will even be able to get a free copy of your credit report. And best of all, lunch is on us! So, mark your calendars now!


Shaun Davidson has worked in public libraries for over seven years, and is currently the adult programmer at Boone County Public Library.