Adult Programs Assessment Success Story

Diane.Rice's picture

In April 2013 I shared the results of Adult Programs community assessment surveys conducted by Ada Community Library staff. As an IMLS Western Fellowship Member TLA50 (Transforming Life After 50) participant and part of the Mid-Life Adult Advisory Committee at the ICfL, the idea of customizing adult programming to reflect what people request was a positive move when working with limited resources  (staff time and no budget.) Being a participant in VolunteerMatch.org allowed us to design position descriptions for adult volunteers, recruit teachers in this demographic who would share valuable life experiences, and promote the Make It at the Library project in our library for adults. We combined all three of these projects into a position request for Makeiteers. 

To expand the creative use of tools in programming for this library we also utilized the 3-D printer we received through the Idaho Commission for Libraries and built by the Reuseum.   Reuseum became our partner as well for the Spring Let’s Talk About It book discussion series The Humanity of Science and Technology. 

Another suggestion from the adult program survey was for sewing projects. Through a response to the Makeiteer position we had an excellent opportunity to offer a 6 week Traditional Dressmaking Class in late 2013. The first step was to set parameters as limited for adults only. Participants were then asked to fill out an on-line form with room to share prior sewing experience. We required that participants be able to attend all six classes as there were only a limited number of participants allowed and each class built upon the previous one. Any specific interests in sewing could be shared in a comments section on the Google Doc form accessible through our library Branch website, and it was specified that this was not a class for teaching a person how to use their specific model of sewing machine. This helped to set up a structure of the class for our volunteer instructor; a wonderful woman who has done professional dressmaking for many years in her own worldwide business http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/profile/SallyClark The questions on the form were effective in narrowing the group to 13 interested individuals. We met Saturday mornings (rain or snow) before the library opened to the public. Tables were arranged with a sewing machine, and materials and fabrics were shared. In beginning classes we chose a pattern where a consensus was made to create a modified version of an Edwardian dress with jacket and skirt.

Participants would volunteer to take a part of the dress home to finish a certain piece of the project and  bring it back to the next class.  We would then put the pieces together and pin them on a dress form, sometimes fixing a miscalculation with support from the rest of the group. Using the 3-D printer we made buttons and thimbles and began a fabric exchange box for future projects.

The finished dress was showcased at our 25 Year Anniversary Celebration and also displayed with raffle tickets available at a bi-annual library Lake Hazel Branch book sale. The dress was then raffled to benefit the Library Friends' group.  After compensating our instructor for her materials, sewing related materials for the Victory Branch were purchased.  Many wonderful smiles, laughter and joyful cooperative creative feelings were shared as well as individual sewing projects.
See http://on.fb.me/1dOo7Mh for photos. We hope to have more good memories to come at monthly ongoing Sewing Group meetings here at the Victory Branch. Please come enjoy time with a local professional costumer Makeiteer: Steampunk with Tangl special event May 14 at 6:30pm.