Nevada Library Association Annual Conference - 2019; November 2-4, 2019

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Monday, November 4 • 3:00pm - 3:45pm
Sewing Machines in an Academic Library

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The recent proliferation of sewing machines on many college campuses across the country highlights cultural currents beyond an interest in crafts. Ideas like “adulting,” “slow fashion,” and the DIY ethos bridge the personal and political, and sewing can be about mending as much as it can be about costuming or finding a mode of personal expression. Students’ research papers occasionally focus on fashion in terms of interdisciplinary social questions. Makerspaces and experiential learning invite students to think about the processes of research and information creation, especially so when they are asked to submit non-traditional projects for class in a variety of formats. Students attending the library’s sewing programs ranged from fully novice to very skilled, which meant many were able to learn from their peers as well as sewists in the community who had been invited to co-host. Several students described links to their grandparents through sewing, which fostered discussions about traditions, skills, and knowledge, and the value of these. Beyond the novelty factor, adding sewing machines to the library is part of a core commitment to connect students with tools and resources. This presentation describes the experiences with adding sewing machines to a university library for both programming and circulation, and documents the process, from initial request to purchase, marketing, and assessment. Ultimately, the experience with sewing machines in this library illuminates the potential interconnections between programming, research and makerspace culture, and student engagement. 

avatar for Catherine Bowers

Catherine Bowers

Reference Librarian, Odum Library, Valdosta State University
Catherine Bowers is a reference librarian and the coordinator of library instruction at Odum Library, Valdosta State University. Part of her job includes teaching Research Methods, and the Information Society, and leading a study abroad to Ireland. In her non-work time, she likes... Read More →

Monday November 4, 2019 3:00pm - 3:45pm PST
Topaz Room