Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Libraries and Sewing

Do you use your public library? It's not a loaded question, I promise. I'm studying to be a librarian, and I'm really curious about what gets people into their public libraries. If you use yours, what do you use it for? If you don't, why not?

I go to my public library about 5 - 6 times a week. I'm not kidding, I really do. I volunteer there on Thursdays, I go to the library book sale on Saturdays, and on the days in between...well, if my partner and I are looking for a movie for date night, we go there. If we just need a place to walk around after a slightly-too-large dinner, we go to the library. Any time I'm interested in a new project or technique or book, I get it from the library. Granted, I'm a little extreme. Obviously, I would live in the library if I could, and that's a large part of why I'm getting a masters' degree in LIS (Library and Information Science).

The small portion of my book collection that sits directly behind my desk. School books and sewing books. :)

But over the last 6 years or so, I've discovered just how much the library has to offer. Did you know you can borrow board games from some libraries (maybe yours)? What about art? Did you know your library probably has story time for your kids, book clubs for you, and workshops (even personal lessons) for people who want to learn more about computer programs or research databases?

Did you know your library has sewing books?

That's a close-up of the photo above. Five of those books are actually library books. This isn't my whole personal collection of sewing books, but if it was, it would only have four more books in it, and it would just equal the number of sewing/style books I currently have checked out from the library. That's right. I can literally count the number of sewing books I own on one hand. (Fit for Real People, The Vogue Sewing Book, The Burdastyle Sewing Handbook, Fabrics by Ann Ladbury, and The Colette Sewing Handbook). But the number of sewing books/magazine subscriptions I have access to?

THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SEVEN!!! Granted, that number probably includes a small number of fiction books whose main character sew, but it also excludes all the books about style, fashion drawing, etc. What's awesome about this collection is that it includes books in the Urbana Free Library and the Douglass Branch, so even if the library down the street doesn't have the book I want, I can still get it if one of the other two libraries has it.

I just reserved a bunch of books about fabric dyeing, since I can't seem to find a nice light turquoise wool coating and I don't want to spend $$$$ a yard and screw it up with a poor dye job. Whenever I'm curious about a book but I'm not sure I want to invest in it yet, I check it out from the library first. If it's a new technique (like fabric dying or embroidery), I check out library books on it to supplement the vast amounts of information on the web.

Do you use your library's sewing books?

By the way, if you haven't looked through The Party Dress Book  by Mary Adams, you really should. It's just one of the most beautiful, inspiring books I've seen, and the most amazing, stunning, gorgeous dress I've ever seen in my life is on pages 58 and 66.


  1. I just got my library card a few months ago and I've been checking out sewing books. It's great! I'd go more often if it was closer to where i live, but they let you renew the books for a long period of time so that works for me!

    1. Yay! It is hard sometimes when your local library isn't very close, or doesn't have a very good selection, but I always love hearing that people use their libraries, even in less-than-ideal conditions. :)

  2. Hello! A fellow Blogtoberfest participant stopping by for a visit...I love that you are borrowing so many sewing books from your local library!! I do this with MANY types of books to try them out so I will spend money only on the ones that I think are really worth it. Funds are pretty tight for me these days! I admire that you are studying to be a librarian, too - I think libraries are VERY IMPORTANT and just came from one to borrow dvds to keep me company as I do my creative work.

    I did a LOT of sewing for costume shops in the Los Angeles area, and I studied pattern drafting at a local community college - please feel free to contact me if you ever have any more questions about darts or other sewing issues. I'm hoping to figure out teaching some sewing classes or doing some coaching for folks who want to learn advanced techniques, so please do contact me sometime...though it does look like you managed quite well with your lovely dress! And you might be interested to know that I also do BOOK BINDING - so please do stop by for a visit when you can =-)
    Happy Blogtoberfest!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It's always fun to find another bookbinder!

  3. I have had a library card all my life. I started sewing... went to the library. Started a blog... went to the library. Unfortunately my library doesn't have the most current books on things like blogging but they have been able to order things for me. I am trying to raise my son the same way. He is 2 and we try to go each week to get books for our bedtime stories.

    1. That is awesome. My favorite books when I was a kid were the Fraggle Rock books and The Fish Who Could Wish. I'm absolutely positive that a large part of the reason I love reading and libraries so much now is because my mom kept a large collection of amazing children's books for us (she still has them in anticipation of future grandchildren, and I occasionally raid her book case because I have a nostalgic soft spot for picture books).