Above: Kids make paper by hand in Week 3 of our Book Creation Workshop.
For the past two years, Queens Public Library Foundation’s Innovation Fund has supported creative initiatives at the libraries with awards of up to $10,000 each. In the Fund’s second year, winning projects ranged from programming for people with disabilities at Glen Oaks, to a multi-branch Robotics League, to podcasting at South Hollis.
Madison Hosack, a children’s librarian at Corona, created an innovative book creation project at the library. The project was designed to change how children and teens interact with books and reading. It also aimed to help young people who were below grade level in reading gain self-efficacy from individual attention.
Hosack worked in collaboration with Grupo Libro Abierto (Open Book Group), an initiative coordinated by local artist Aurora De Armendi. In the series of sixteen workshops, facilitated by local artists and writers, students were able to make their own books and express their original ideas. As Hosack explains, students came to understand how narrative is told through images as they bound their own folios.
Above: A Snake/Flower Book from Week 2 of the program (top); students learned bookbinding in Week 7 (bottom).
In designing the project, she wanted to support Queens Public Library’s mission of cultivating personal and intellectual growth and building strong communities, and she sought to address the library’s strategic goal of advancing literacy and lifelong learning.
Youth ages 8-13 were able to participate in poetry and visual arts exercises as they learned how to make physical books to contain their ideas. One of the project’s goals was to help English language learners develop skills in a low-stress environment. Students did drum-leaf binding, made snake/flower booklets and flexagons, practiced accordion folds, created their own paper from scratch, constructed pop-up books, and developed the content for their books through creative writing.
Hosack hopes to continue the workshops in the future, given their success and popularity in the community. Above all, she emphasizes how this project focused on process over product. We are pleased to share photos of some of the beautiful and inspiring projects that resulted from this approach!
Below: Sequential images and experimental structures from another session of the workshop.