Last fall, library programmers began noodling new ways to engage patrons where they are — safe at home. A team of library staff recalled how the Meeting Room would fill whenever patrons were invited to create something. And for good reason: making something reaps lots of benefits. Crafting has been shown to boost fine motor skills, stimulate the mind, reinforce decision-making, and provide a sense of accomplishment.
So staff went to work figuring out how to replicate in-person crafting experiences with at-home activities. The solution was Take & Make Kits, a series of crafts that cardholders pick up curbside. Each themed kit includes supplies and instructions for making something whimsical like paper-bag owls or wooden snowflakes.
The library team realized the kits might be a good match for residents of local senior centers, too. Staff offered a dozen owl-themed Take & Make Kits to Sue Church, activities director at Sunrise of Buffalo Grove, who enthusiastically accepted them.
At the time, television news programs were covering the story of Rocky, the tiny owl that was found in the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree. Rocky and the owl kits created a stir in the halls of Sunrise. The craft was so well received that the library expanded the kits to other local senior centers.
So far, about 120 residents have participated in the crafting kits. For each, the creative process provides a pleasant diversion. And when the finished products are displayed in hallways for all to see, it connects them as a community — each sharing their own creative work and admiring that of their neighbors.
Reception has been positive: Magaly Teran, activity director at Avantara of Long Grove, wrote, “Our residents loved the craft!” At Arboria of Long Grove, Linda Falson, director of life enrichment, reported that while residents made the snowman craft, they reminisced about building snowmen with their children and grandchildren. And Sue Church, at Sunrise, observed that “the Take & Make Kits are a wonderful independent activity for the residents to do.”
Meanwhile, back at the library’s curbside service lane, Take & Make Kits are available every month while supplies last. Pick up next month’s craft, a Monster Mashup, beginning March 5; get a reminder.
Teens (grades 6–12) get kits of their own, with registration required for pickup. Reserve the March kit, a birdseed feeder, now.