Grow Your Creative Talents in the New Year with Helpful Books, Resources & Programs

Posted on December 29, 2021 at 6:00 am

Woman painting, feature blog image

By Melissa Rhoades

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou

From my experience, this is absolutely true. This means that including creative goals in your New Year’s resolutions could lead to a more productive and inspirational 2022.

Our libraries offer plenty of ways to help with creative goals, including books, DVDs, and CDs to check out, online and on-demand classes, library programs, and even a website featuring local artists.

What better way to get motivated than create art for our upcoming art shows? The library is currently seeking artists of any age and skill level to submit family-friendly work to our Mini & Virtual Art Show. This year’s theme is Happiness, and there are two ways to sign up and submit art.

Even if you’re not ready to share your artwork with the community, you can still visit your local library and/or the virtual art show in February to appreciate the wealth of artistic talent residing in your neighborhood and across Spokane County.

Inspiring Reads

You don’t need to be a professional artist to enjoy the creative process. Anyone with any level of talent can benefit from dabbling in creative activities. These give the mind a respite from worries and open new avenues of thinking.

The following print and digital books offer advice on how to fit art into busy lifestyles, begin an art practice at any age, brainstorm new project ideas, and ramp up your creative flow.

Creating Art & Crafting with Kids

To pique children’s interest in arts and crafts, it’s helpful to focus on the process rather than what the final “product” will look like. In fact, focusing on process is what allows artists of all ages to break out of preconceived notions and create something new and exciting!

It’s also a good practice to encourage children to “tell me about your creation” rather than to ask, “What is that?” Despite good intentions, the second way of phrasing your curiosity suggests you can’t decipher what’s happening in the artwork and can be deflating for a child.

Books to help encourage children’s creativity include:

Some of our STEM Explorer Kits for elementary-age children and Ready for School with STEM Kits for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten-age children also include creative elements, like building and designing.

Young children may also enjoy Building with Books: LEGO Storytimes, happening twice in January (be sure to sign up at least one day before to claim your spot). During these special online storytimes, a librarian will read a story, and kids recreate a part of the story with LEGO bricks or other craft materials they have in their home. At the end of the build, everyone gets a chance to share their creations with the group.

Resources for Tips & New Ideas

Want to perfect your watercolor brushstrokes or learn a new stitch for your knitting repertoire? You can get arts and crafts how-to help for all ages in a multitude of print and digital books on how to draw, paint, carve, work with clay, knit, take artful photographs, and more.

For additional arts and crafts media, search our catalog or visit our nonfiction shelves, with call numbers 740 through 770. The same call numbers apply to both adults’ and children’s books.

If you live in our digital service area, your library card gives you access to over 70 digital resources in our Digital Library. You can explore several for inspiration, patterns, how-to videos, and technique tips, including Creativebug, Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center, and LinkedIn Learning.

You can check for upcoming library programs featuring creative hobbies and activities on our events calendar. Be sure to register before they fill up!

Spokane Creators Website

To see many talented people and their creative work from around Spokane County, you can visit the website Spokane Creators.

This website started as a library project to improve connections between local professional artists and those who want to learn more about them. Now, you can find over 250 local creators on the site and learn more about them, see their creations, and get in touch with them. If you are a local professional artist, we encourage you to apply to include your profile on the site so others can find you and your creative work.

More Creative Opportunities Coming Soon

Our library has also provided access to creative resources that have been unavailable during the pandemic. Many of these resources will be available again sometime in 2022 for use in our libraries and for check out from our Library of Things collection.

  • The 3D printer (extrusion, additive printer) at Spokane Valley Library is back in operation on a limited basis. If you’re new to 3D printing, you can request a one-on-one appointment on the 3D Printing web page to learn how to create designs and submit them to the library for printing.
  • Our Library of Things collection houses sewing machines, a bottle-cutter kit, upholstery kits, and even professional video equipment. Library staff have been working behind the scenes to put the entire collection into a new, more flexible reservation system that will roll out within the next few months. Some items will be available before others, but we’re excited to offer our “things” for check out once again.
  • The Lab at North Spokane Library houses our multi-purpose maker space and the Glowforge 3D Laser Printer (subtractive 3D printer for laser cutting and engraving). In 2022, we will be offering a training and certification process for the Glowforge, which once completed would allow library customers, ages 16 and older, access and use of this amazing machine to create all sorts of art and useful things.
  • The Studio at Spokane Valley Library is currently closed. Once reopened, this space will again offer professional video, audio, and photography equipment and use of the space, including lights, cameras, microphones, backdrops, and editing software. You’ll just need to provide the action.

We look forward to seeing what you create this winter! We invite you to take advantage of all the resources available at your local library to get started on your next creative project.

As Ms. Angelou reminds us, the more creativity you use, the more you have. I wish you a wonderful year of creating!

Melissa Rhoades

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