It’s one of our favorite weeks of the year: National Library Week!

Libraries and crafting go together like peanut butter and jelly. Just so good.

Don’t have a library card? No problem! They’re usually free. Some municipalities require you to show proof of residency, but it’s becoming more common for libraries to allow you to sign up online. Soooo easy.

Here are a few ways your public library can support you as a crafter:

1. CLASSES

Many public libraries offer free* classes to any community member with a library card. Often, they’re taught by community members, too, so you’ll have a chance to get to know your neighbors a little better.

A quick search of public library crafting classes and events in the US yielded a ton of results, such as a recurring Saturday sewing circle in Baltimore, MD; a clay pinch pot-making event and a plastic yarn day in Little Rock, AR; a Craft Club in Perry, IA; and a First Fridays craft discovery program in Shreveport, LA. Meanwhile, many library systems, especially in larger cities, have a centralized crafting location, like Chicago, IL’s Maker Lab. These are just a few random examples of the treasure trove of public classes available at public libraries all over the country.

Three women craft at the public library.
A woman displays her autumn decor craft at a class at the library.

For more information, just call your local library, visit their website, or walk in and ask a friendly librarian!

*Note: Some public libraries may charge a very small fee for classes, usually just for materials.

A Halloween-themed crafting kit offered by a local library.

2. KITS & TOOLS

We all want to be better, more experienced crafters. However, it can be difficult to grow as a crafter, because the cost of materials and tools can add up quickly. When you think about trying a new kind of craft medium, the initial cost might discourage you. But what if your tax dollars were already paying for all that?

Many public libraries offer first-come, first-served crafting kits for kids, teens, and adults. Sometimes they’re themed to coincide with upcoming holidays, like the Mini Spooky Library Craft Kit shown above, which was offered free of charge during a recent Halloween season in Oakwood, OH.

Other libraries work with local makers to offer free DIY kits for people who like to learn at home. If you live in Cedar Rapids, IA, you can pick up the crochet learning kit shown to the left right now! When you’re finished, you keep the project you made and just return the materials to a librarian.

3. CRAFTSY & ONLINE LEARNING

Talk about a treasure trove. If you’ve been a maker for any length of time, you’ve probably stumbled across Craftsy, the massive online collection of classes, tutorials, articles, and forums for learning new and exciting ways to craft. There’s a membership fee, but guess who already ordered you a membership?

That’s right! Some library municipalities offer access to Craftsy to library card holders. Los Angeles, for instance, is one of many cities that offers its residents access to Craftsy through the Libby app, which we’ll get to in a minute.

If your local library doesn’t include access to Craftsy with a library card, that’s OK! Craftsy has made it easy for libraries to sign up. You can ask your librarian to take a look at Craftsy’s Libraries page here.

4. BOOKS, AUDIOBOOKS, MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS, & MORE ON LIBBY

Have you discovered the free Libby app yet?

Most public libraries now offer digital access to Libby to anyone with a library card. In fact, online-only libraries are starting to spring up and offer a digital library card with Libby access for anyone who wants one!

The Libby app's logo: the word "Libby" with an illustration underneath of a girl reading a book

Depending on which items your library includes on its virtual “shelves,” you might be able Libby to borrow books, listen to audiobooks, and page through all kinds of magazines and newspapers (including ones that aren’t local to you). Just download the app, search for your library, and use your library card to sign up for free! (Note: the free Hoopla app works similarly and has lots of amazing crafting content as well.)

And don’t forget: you can read and/or borrow many of those crafting books, audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers in person at your library, too!

5. CRAFTING CONTENT ON KANOPY

If you haven’t discovered Kanopy, then we’re about to blow your minds. It’s a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu that allows you to watch thousands of TV shows and movies for free using your library card!

Kanopy has a lot of the same movies and shows you know and love from other services, but it also has lots of educational videos and classes. Like Libby, you access Kanopy using your library card, so depending on which titles are in your library’s digital collection, you may discover documentaries about crafting communities around the world or even how-to videos from accomplished crafters!

These are just a few of the ways that your local library can help you explore the world of crafting.

Additionally, many libraries have meeting spaces that can be reserved for crafting groups; the Craft Council features a massive library that’s open to the public, both in-person and online; and we haven’t even begun to discuss what a Reference Librarian can do for you. (Just ask to speak to one on your next visit, and they’ll probably shock you with the amount of resources they can help you find.)

This National Library Week, we hope you’ll head to your local library and, ahem, check things out! (Just remember: shhhhhh.)