Ribbons, markers, colored pencils, buttons and old books sat on tables, waiting to be used for the covers and pages of new books.
While this sounds like a get together of scrapbookers, it was actually a meeting of a new Waupaca Area Public Library book club.
The club is the Waupaca Library Book-to-Art Club.
“The whole idea is the library is a maker space, a place to create,” said Library Director Peg Burington.
The Book to Art Club is a new project from the Library as Incubator Project.
The Library as Incubator Project seeks to promote and facilitate collaboration between libraries and artists.
Three women started it, after a discussion about creative advocacy for libraries in one of their courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies.
Burington said the Book to Art Club idea was among the topics at last May’s Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries Conference.
She said her staff in Waupaca decided to come up with new ideas for book discussions.
“We wanted to find ways to attract people in a different way to talk about it (a book) and create something they loved about it,” she said.
The library supports about a dozen book clubs and also sponsored one of its own.
The number of people participating in the library’s book club dwindled, and Burington said they wanted to bring people back to the library with book clubs.
“When we talked about forming an Adult Program Committee and talked about the kinds of programs we wanted to offer, we knew lots of people were looking for book clubs,” said Patsy Servey, the library’s interlibrary loan librarian.
When the existing clubs meet do not always mesh with the schedules of those wanting to join one.
Servey volunteered to run a new library book club.
“And it turned out to be this,” she said.
The library’s Book-to-Art Club meets at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month, in the library’s downstairs meeting room. Participants discuss the book and make an art project that is related to the book.
“I stay as late as people are here. It can go as late as 2 p.m.,” Servey said. “We have had success with people being available on Saturday morning.”
The Library as an Incubator Project is being used as a model for the new book club.
“The whole idea,” Burington said, “is to allow creative energy to come alive at the library to bring together people with like experiences to grow.”
The Madison Public Library’s experience starting such a club helped Servey chose the initial books and projects for Waupaca’s Book-to-Art Club.
Other libraries starting such book clubs are sharing ideas and photos.
Servey also has plenty of her own ideas.
“Patsy has taken it on and done a great job,” Burington said. “She has creative energy, enthusiasm and thinks outside the box.”
Servey describes the list of books for Waupaca’s club as versatile and including children’s, young adult, adult fiction and adult non-fiction books.
Registration is unnecessary.
“People just show up,” she said. “A lot of people say they didn’t read the book, and that is OK. We do talk about the book, but then that may lead to them wanting to read the book.”
A self portrait was the project when “Remember Me?” by Sophie Kinsella was the chosen book.
At the Jan. 3 meeting, those who attended made journals to fit with that month’s selection of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.
“When I planned the schedule last summer, I had no idea the movie was coming out this month,” Servey said.
About 10 people attended last Saturday’s meeting, and Servey is excited to see different people each month.
“It is starting to grow,” she said.
The materials for each project are always provided.
Many items are donated.
“Sometimes we use supplies from the children’s or teen department,” she said. “We also have a budget from the Friends (of the library group).”
In addition, Servey lets her fellow staff members know of any particular needs and said items then show up on her desk.
Next month’s book is “The Brides of Rollrock Island” by Margo Lanagan, and the project will be Celtic knotwork.
Plans also call for connecting the club to one of the book festival authors, as well as to exhibits in the library’s exhibit room.
“We’re just trying to make this book club part of the library and all its programming as much as we can,” Servey said.
Burington said they also want to reach out to the artist community.
Two local artists were among those who attended the Jan. 3 meeting.
They were Sondra Rothenbach and Brenda Wenberg, and both attended for the first time.
Rothenbach recently moved to Waupaca from Pine River and brought her own art supplies, as well as a book about Zen doodling.
“Sometimes, as an artist, it’s hard to try something different,” she said.
Rothenbach had the book a couple months and decided to incorporate Zen doodles into her journal.
While she did not read “Wild,” she thought it sounded interesting after listening to the discussion.
Wenberg did read the book and found the new book club to be fun.
“I think it’s a nice idea to get the two together,” she said of books and art.
Sarah Davies, of Waupaca, also attended for the first time and worked on a journal for family members.
“I didn’t read ‘Wild.’I saw the previews for the movie and am interested now in reading it,” she said.
Davies also plans to attend the library’s other new book club, which is about cookbooks, because she loves to cook.
“I think it’s a great idea, especially for people looking for a creative outlet,” she said of the new Book-to-Art Club.
Jodi McNichols made the trip to Waupaca from just outside of Plover with her daughter Mackenzie to attend it for the first time.
They made a journal they plan to take on their trip to Florida.
“We love the Waupaca library,” McNichols said. “We came in and saw the display.”