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Upcycle It! @ Pinney Library

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Posted: 12:31PM March 5th, 2015 | Comments

By Erica Beckman

Every new year, I see a chance to make some commitments to living a better life that come in the form of resolutions. A chance to say to myself: How do I improve the life I’m currently living? More often than not, my New Year’s resolutions have focused primarily on personal improvements- working out more, eating a little less cheese and chocolate, reading more books, completing that unfinished painting, etc. But this year I’m determined to reimagine my resolutions, reflecting on and improving upon not only myself but also on the community I’m a part of.


In my quest to find ways to improve the community, I’ve had Sustain Dane to thank for giving me a helpful push toward understanding that making a difference means get involved on a variety of levels. I began to understand that if I wanted to “improve my community” I’d need to connect with my community. As my elementary school librarian once told me, “Start by reading books before attempting to write them.” I believe that was a message beyond book writing that is easily extended to many aspects of life and learning. It also provides a perfect introduction to the beginning of my new year’s involvement resolutions in the form of a community experience I chose for January: an event at Pinney Library called Upcycle It! Recycled Book Crafts.


Pinney Library is located on the Cottage Grove Road, near where it meets up with Atwood Avenue. It is set back from the street in a little strip mall. Although the space may seem small, there are plenty of chances to get lost in a book while you’re there. However, my visit was a bit of an unusual one. I wasn’t reading books at the library, I was reimagining the book form entirely as I learned how to repurpose it in all sorts of neat ways: pretty old book page paper flowers, many folded pages forming bookish hedgehogs, books taking their original form as trees, and a mountain of creative ideas beyond that.


In a meeting room in the back of the library there were tables set up with a lot of creative, crafty individuals seated at them. In the full room, I managed to spot at a table and was joined by three younger girls. Two of them folded pages upon pages of a book to eventually form a hedgehog while I worked on accordion folding pages of old books and gluing them together to form flower shapes. One of the library helpers was a girl I went to college with, which made for a wonderful surprise reunion. I laughed at hedgehog jokes made by the librarian and I learned a little about what school is like for a 5th grader these days. We helped each other out as we traded projects and ideas and at the end of two hours that passed in what seemed like five minutes we all had some great folded book projects to take home.


The library is a place I don’t visit nearly enough. Beyond the books (which are worlds within themselves), libraries across town feature films, speakers on all kinds of topics, and great projects. All of these events are free and positively perfect ways to meet new people and connect with the community in a thoughtful and not always-so-quiet space. Plus, librarians are probably some of the smartest and most underestimated group of cool people in town that will always be able to point you in the 'write’ direction.
 

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