6 Ways to Develop Your Hobby Using the Library
The benefits of practicing a hobby are as bountiful as the choices of hobbies to pursue. It’s a chance to get out of your head with a stress-relieving break and get lost in something that truly lights you up. Hobbies can give you an outlet for your creativity, add some variety to your days, and open you up to social connections. You can even make money doing something you love.
For ideas and guidance in developing your hobby, look to your library. You’ll find an abundance of free resources to inspire you and keep your hobby growing.
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1. Check out books and magazines.
Search for your hobby in your library’s online catalog or ask your librarian to point you in the right direction. Chances are, you’ll discover books for beginners to experts with step-by-step instructions, insider tips, project ideas, and advice on the best tools of the trade.
Discover project guides, patterns, and techniques for your next sewing, knitting, or woodworking project. Develop a green thumb with books about growing your own vegetables or creating a garden in the desert or even your apartment. Teach yourself an instrument and score a book of songs to practice.
And the options for cookbooks are tantalizing! Try out celebrity recipes or take a culinary trip around the world. You’ll find cookbooks specific to diets, ingredients, cooking time, party size, and type of cooking.
Most libraries also offer magazines for checkout as well as access to hundreds of online magazines through free apps such as Flipster and Press Reader. Read travel stories, hear from yoga experts, or keep up on the latest trends of your hobby without the cost of a subscription.
2. Connect with clubs and classes.
For hands-on experience and a chance to connect and share your work with other hobbyists, explore your library’s schedule of events for clubs and classes. Many host on-site activities or offer live streaming and recordings for crafters, knitters, quilters, writers, jewelry-makers, painters, writers, and more.
Carbondale Public Library hosts a garden club with monthly presentations by master gardeners and has a “Seed Library” with free packets of flowers, vegetables, and herbs to add to your garden.
Card holders for the Orange County Library System can learn about basic sewing machine skills and safety as well as patterns and fabrics with live online classes.
Missoula Public Library offers artist-led watercolor painting classes and chef demonstrations of seasonally inspired recipes, professional cooking techniques, and timesaving tips.
3. Take advantage of online training.
In addition to library-hosted classes, many also offer free access to online learning platforms so you can learn at your own pace from home or anywhere. Check your library’s website to see if they participate in services like these:
· Crafters, makers, and other DIY-ers can binge on thousands of expert-led instructional videos along with patterns, templates, galleries, and forums for daily inspiration with Creativebug.
· ArtistWorks for Libraries is the place for self-paced music lessons, including string and band instruments and voice.
· Kanopy is a video streaming services boasting a library of hobby videos from The Great Courses covering screenwriting, photography, martial arts, and more.
· If speaking a foreign language is your hobby of choice, look for access to learning tools like Mango Languages or Rosetta Stone.
· For in-depth courses complete with exams and instructor feedback, try out Universal Class’s course list ranging from soapmaking and aromatherapy to entrepreneurship and starting a craft business.
4. Get access to tools and high-tech equipment.
Now that you have the books and instruction to guide you in your hobby pursuit, check to see if library offers the use of equipment and software. It’s a great opportunity to develop your skills and create new projects without the need for a big investment or at-home workspace.
Pikes Peak Library District partnered with Manitou Art Center to provide library patrons access to the Center’s equipment and makerspaces, including a woodshop, metal shop, ceramics room, and darkroom.
Other makers spaces and creation labs are popping up at libraries around the country offering a creative space to connect with other makers along with equipment access and instruction. Get hands-on practice with equipment such as:
· 3D scanners and printers
· Laser engraving machines
· Die-cut machines
· Sewing machines
· Power and hand tools
· Soldering stations
· Throwing wheels and kilns
· Cameras and light sets
· Video/photo editing software
5. Take your hobby to-go.
If you’re looking for a fun creative outlet but aren’t sure where to start, some libraries offer fantastic take-home crafts with the tools and inspiration you need to create at home.
These DIY kits often include the supplies and instructions to create crafts like string art, jewelry, watercolor paintings, birdhouses, or seasonal decorations. Be sure to check your libraries guidelines to see if registration is required to reserve your kit.
6. Put your hobby to work.
If you dream of turning your hobby creations into sales, talk to your librarian about resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs. With offerings like free high-speed internet, computer access, quiet workspace, and business and entrepreneurship classes, the library is a go-to resource for business support. Some libraries, including The New York Public Library, even offer one-on-one business counseling.
You can also look into the online training resources mentioned earlier for courses on time management, creating a business plan, reaching customers, and selling in online marketplaces.
It’s time to take your hobby to the next level, explore something new, and see what inspiration you can find — for free — at your local library.