Programs for Adults

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Success Stories

Great Ideas for Adult Programming

Job Interviewing & Resume Workshops Contact your local community college job center. Many community colleges have outreach coordinators that will present at your library for free.

Bold Great Idea for Adult Programs: Altered Book Workshop

This is especially ideal for public libraries. At my library, we receive many book donations from the public, and our Friends of the Library accept most donations to sell. However, there are quite a few books that get tossed, but can be utilized by creative folks.

What is an altered book?


It can be as simple as painting or drawing on single book pages, or as complex as constructing furniture out of books.

Here are some examples of what an altered book can be:

  • travel journal
  • photo album
  • memory book
  • scrapbook
  • gift

I held a workshop on Saturday, September 30, 2006 called "Altered Bookshop: Turn Old Books Into Art". There was a lot of community interest, and we advertised all over town; so we had a great turnout, about 10 people. (Our town, Stillwater, Oklahoma, has a population of around 40,000, but our public library serves the entire county of Payne, where over 68,000people reside.)

The workshop was constructed as such:

  • tables set up into work stations for each activity (book choosing, painting, gluing, cutting, material gathering)
  • snacks and drinks provided by the library (snacks made by volunteers, if possible)
  • Welcome and introduction to significance of altered books, show examples: using MS PowerPoint
  • Have at least one volunteer or library employee at each station (we had a 1.5 hour training session to introduce techniques prior to workshop date)
  • coordinator serves as troubleshooter, answers questions, oversees and supervises
  • safety precautions were emphasized heavily because sharp blades were used, and hot glue. A first-aid kit was nearby.

The emphasis of this workshop was on learning the techniques, not creating a final project. That way, participants did not feel pressured to turn out products of certain artistic quality. Prior to the workshop, my fellow librarians and I gathered lots of scrap materials from library employees, personal resources, and the "library vault of things," and organized them for display for the workshop participants to take home. We provided the bags and encouraged people to take as much as they wanted, so they could work on their altered book at a later date.

Resources used for content: Italic The Altered Book Scrapbook by Susan Ure, Italic Altered Art : Techniques for Creating Altered Books, Boxes, Cards & More by Terry Taylor, and Italic Altered Books Workshop : 18 Creative Techniques for Self-expression by Bev Brazelton. The images I used for examples were taken from www.alteredbookartists.com, the website for the International Society of Altered Book Artists.

As soon as the workshop was over, people were asking the date for the next workshop!

Blogs/Websites to Watch

Specific Blog Posts/Articles to Check Out

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