Creative Thursdays at the Walnut Creek Library
A California State Library LSTA grant program intended to facilitate easy duplication of successful projects
- LSTA Grant # 40-8389
- Original Application, Final Narrative
- Contra Costa County Library
- Sarah Spindle, Librarian
- Maximum funding (CopyCat grant): $6,000
Description: Because parents enthusiastically participated in craft projects during children's programming at the library, the Walnut Creek Library branch of Contra Costa County Library (CCCL) developed Creative Thursdays to provide adults a free, hands-on, creative outlet by exposing them to the many creative opportunities the library, city, and community partners had to offer. The program series alternated between a librarian-led, drop-in, textile-oriented makerspace and more formally instructed programs led by talented, local artists and instructors. Programming enabled participants to harness their creativity in watercolor, bookmaking, jewelry-making, sewing, knitting, and book-making, among others.
Purpose: To encourage lifelong learning and creative inspiration in community members by providing a program series that encourages collaboration, creativity, and community, all the while establishing strong contacts between the library and city and community business partners.
Target Audience: Adults seeking creative experiences, learning opportunities, and connection with the library and other community members. Creative Thursdays participants ranged in age from 20 to 80, low- to high-income, and novices to experts.
Expected Outcomes: Studies indicate that nurturing creativity in adults reduces stress, enhances the immune system, and increases joy. Participants will report an increased likelihood in participating in arts and culture events, an increased sense of community, and a stronger connection to the library. Participants will learn new skills and be more likely to pursue creative activities as a result of participating.
Partners: This program requires development of strong relationships with local civic arts organizations, galleries, and businesses. They will be instrumental in helping to select instructors who will be paid to lead programs. The relationship benefits these organizations as the library promotes partners' events and classes to the community.
- Compensation for contracted instructors
- Art, sewing, kitting supplies
- Storage bins
- Related books for the collection
- 2 sewing machines and a serger
- marketing materials
See original application for more detail and in-kind staff estimates.
- Identify partners, gather suggestions for instructors from local arts organizations, civic and neighborhood community centers, local crafts stores, and artists. CCCL's partners included
- Reserve library space for programs and makerspace. CCCL used a conference room for their makerspace and used a meeting room for instructional sessions. Example: Floor Plan for Creative Thursdays (pdf format)
- Build in time for library staff/volunteer training Partners can be useful in this stage. The Sewing Machine Shop, where CCCL's sewing machines were purchased, offered free classes the librarian as part of the agreement.
- Survey online to gauge interest in classes/activities. Examples: craft interest survey (pdf format), Creative Thursdays survey sign (pdf format)
- Hire instructors and establish agreements per library's policy. Example: Creative Thursdays Blank Performance Confirmation (pdf format)
- Purchase equipment and supplies, which might include sewing machines, sewing and knitting supplies, fabric, crafting equipment and materials, etc. Purchasing tips: Supply List for Textile Makerspace (pdf format). Working with local shops, for example, The Sewing Machine Shop enables cross-promotion and can be useful in recruiting instructors. Repair of machines is easier when they are purchased locally. A trip to a local fabric shop vs. buying items online can be part of the creative process and allows library presenters who lead makerspace projects to gain a sense of ownership over projects. Machines for 2014 LSTA Eureka (pdf format)
- Promote program Examples: Creative Thursdays Program Flyer, Creative Thursdays LED Star (pdf format). Enter sessions on library calendar, prepare page for library webpage, promote sessions on library's social media.
- Prepare samples of each week's project before each program. This aids in troubleshooting beforehand and makes presentations run smoothly.
- Prepare instructions and any craft kits for participants. Examples of instructions for librarian-led crafts here: Grocery Bag Instructions, Pocket Tissue Cozy Tutorial, garter stitch instructions (all pdf format)
- Programming may alternate between instructor-led and drop-in makerspace (Creative Thursdays Schedule and sources (pdf format)
- Survey attendees to assess success in reaching program objectives See example: Creative Thursdays feedback site.