Soon patrons of the Raymond Village Library will be able to borrow knitting needles and crochet hooks just as they would a book. Library volunteer Georgette Ouellette has spearheaded the effort to get this lending library organized.
Ouellette said that she was leading knitting classes at the library when a board member approached her with the idea for a knitting needle lending library. She agreed to tackle the project, and has put many hours into coordinating this effort. Ouellette said she added crochet hooks to the mix because sometimes in a knitting project, people want to add a crocheted edge as well. Ouellette said the hope is that people will be able to borrow everything they need for a project right there at the library, with the exception of specific notions.
Library director Sally Holt said the project is one result of what is happening in libraries around the country. “Books are not the mainstay of the library any longer. They’re still very important, but libraries are becoming maker spaces, where people gather to learn,” she said. “That has been happening in libraries for years, but it has now become ramped up,” she added. “Libraries are doing more programming, and we’re doing more things with gathering people – more programs and more opportunities.”
The library, Holt said, is a where people can come in for whatever reason they wish. “I personally feel that technology is not the best connecter, and people are feeling the need to connect. The place that anybody can connect anywhere in this country is the library,” she said.
Ouellette has been very generous with her time, Holt added. “If we did not have Georgette, we would not be able to do this.” Ouellette has organized the collection of needles as well as inspiring people to come to the library to knit. They raised money for the needle lending library by selling projects people had knit – scarves, mittens, gloves and hats, which were on display in the library around the holidays. This has allowed the library to purchase some needles to fill in the gaps in what had been donated.
The next step is to organize the items available for loan and get them on display, which Holt and Ouellette anticipate will happen within the week. “We may not have everything that everybody needs, but we have a good amount right now and it’s time to get the library going with lending them out,” said Ouellette. There are many needles and hooks available for lending already, including the double points and circulars purchased with the money raised. The library also has several bins of yarn that will be available for free.
Needles and hooks will be signed out in similar fashion to a book to help the library track the supplies. Donations for the needle library are still welcome, and can be dropped off at the library. Ouellette said it would be wonderful to have a yarn winder or swift, though she knows that those items are larger and harder to come by.
On Sunday February 22nd, Ouellette will be leading an event “Stitch Out Breast Cancer.” From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m, people can gather at the library to knit pink and white scarves. These scarves will then be donated to an organization which distributes them to individuals who are running to benefit breast cancer programs. Since two hours may not be enough time to finish a scarf, Ouellette said people can take them home to finish, then return them to the library. She has a large bin of pink and white yarn ready and waiting for people to come and knit.
Ouellette said she would like to do other programs as well, and perhaps see a weekly or monthly knitting group form at the library. “That would be a good time to have people who are interested in the same thing getting together, having conversations and sharing their expertise,” she said.