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The Hipster Librarian’s Guide to Teen Craft Projects by Tina Coleman and Peggy Llanes

March 3, 2009

cover of The Hipster Librarian’s Guide to Teen Craft Projects by Tina Coleman and Peggy LlanesIf you subscribe to YALSA’s ya-yaac listserv for teen programming, my thoughts about The Hipster Librarian’s Guide to Teen Craft Projects by Tina Coleman and Peggy Llanes pretty much echo what others said about it. This book would be most useful for librarians new to teen craft programming and who are looking for ideas or justification to support craft programs. For those who have been doing craft programs for a while now and are looking for new ideas, you’ll get more bang for your buck with non-library specific books like Kathy Cano-Murillo‘s Crafty Diva books or Mark Montano’s The Big-Ass Book of Crafts, not to mention free websites and blogs. (Although, of course, with the websites and blogs, the cost is in the time you’ll spend searching.)

After a brief introduction advocating the benefits of crafts for teens, Coleman and Llanes give instructions for 12 different craft projects, which is not much considering the book’s $40 price tag. While I think it would have made more sense to have put the information in the appendix (a supplies and tool list and project materials list) and glossary (techniques, tools and materials) at the start of the book, the organization of the actual projects make sense, moving from simplest to most difficult. The crafts included run from the typical-and-can-easily-find-instructions-for-them-elsewhere (marble magnets, t-shirt reconstruction) to the would-not-be-able-to-pull-that-off-in-my-library (one requires sewing machines, another may take up to *four* hours). Each project begins with a description and ideas on how you can tie in the craft to other programs, and lists the difficulty, time, supervision, group size and mess factor involved. Materials are separated into two sections, supplies and tools, and materials specific to the craft. Then the authors detail the prep work that needs to be done prior to the program, and finally give the instructions for the craft. Spinoffs of the craft are also suggested for most of the projects; however, no instructions on how to adapt it are given. To be sure, some of the spinoffs don’t require instructions, but how exactly do you turn the woven paper basket into a picture frame?

Just as disappointing is the design and presentation of the book, which is printed entirely in black and white with a dull layout. Perhaps economies of scale made color printing prohibitive, but every craft book I’ve seen recently is in full color, or at least includes color inserts showing the final product, at a lower price. I have to admit that it’s difficult for me to separate my reaction to the content of the book from my reaction to the production/design. Overall, though, I found The Hipster Librarian’s Guide to Teen Craft Projects a lackluster book at best.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2009 3:51 am

    Yup, we got that book at my library and I agree with everything you said. (What library program lasts FOUR HOURS?!)

  2. Diane permalink
    March 5, 2009 5:03 am

    Thank you for posting this review. As a self-proclaimed hipster, I had high hopes for this title. But now I might reconsider… Thanks for the alternative options!

    • March 6, 2009 9:19 am

      You’re welcome! I had high hopes for this book, too, even as a non-hipster. Alas, I just ended up feeling disappointed.

  3. June 3, 2009 4:59 am

    I would like to add that my director bought me this book and I was disappointed that you could get all the direction etc. online for free from the website. The ideas in it while exciting were (like others have pointed out) very long and honestly to much work for a typical craft program at the library.

  4. June 6, 2010 7:58 am

    Hi, I loved your review of the Hipster guide book. I don’t have a book, but I’m an art teacher and craft presenter at numerous libraries on Long Island. I blog about both kids and teens crafts at: http://www.theartannex.com and have many teen programs at http://www.libraryarts.com. Check them out and tell me what you think.

    Doris

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