Best Picks for Learning Something New

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To-Do List: LearnChampagne and revelry aside, ringing in the New Year means making resolutions, and often that means learning something new. Whether by necessity or for pleasure, this is a great time to delve into a new project, and the library is the perfect place to start. Since cross-referencing a topic in multiple media formats often yields the best results, our books, videos, and online resources are great starters for your journey.

New Year, New Hobby

Learning a hobby is a rewarding experience that can open new doors to meeting people with similar interests. Fiber arts like knitting and crochet are fun skills to learn, made easy by video series like I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting! and Learn to Knit. Once you’ve got the basics in hand, browse pattern books for inspiration. Easy Living Crochet, Crochet: The Complete Step-by-Step GuideThe Best of Knit Along with Debbie Macomber, and Easy Afghans are good places to start, with beginner-level projects of all different sizes. Consider joining the Book ‘N Stitchers at John Marshall branch library for some lively conversation and impromptu advice as the needles and hooks fly! Visit our online calendar of events for more information about this program.

Is putting in a garden on your resolution list? Winter weather may not feel like planting season, but it’s the perfect time to start planning out your project. If you want to start small, container gardening may be a good fit for you. A good reference is P. Allen Smith’s Container Gardens. Check out Homegrown Berries and Grow Fruit for some great tips on gardening for your table, and Grow Your Own in Pots for small-scale gardening tips. If your green thumb prevails and your harvest is bountiful, Preserving Summer’s Bounty can get you started on preserving so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor year-round.

Learning by Necessity

On the other hand, sometimes learning a new skill is more a matter of necessity than of desire. Maybe you’re looking to save money on home repairs or remodeling projects, for instance. Even novice handymen and women can tackle tough tasks like replacing a roof with the likes of Complete Roofing Handbook. We have videos that introduce the basics of everything from basic carpentry to interior painting techniques, and just about everything in between. These are especially helpful if you’re the type to need to see something done a few times before you really get the hang of it!

Smaller DIY projects can also be rewarding and save you money at the same time. Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer can help you prep for those busy nights when take-out has become the norm. Try your hand at a variety of homemade gifts of all kinds with Simple Gifts. Feeling even more adventurous? Check out Haircutting at Home for Beginners, which will walk you through the basics of this handy and cost-conscious skill.

Personal Development

Have you ever wondered about your family’s roots? The library’s genealogical resources can help you answer that question. A subject search of the catalog brings up many materials available to you. If your search is local, visit the Virginiana Room at Warrenton central library to get started, or try the library’s Local History & Genealogy page for extensive databases and online rescoures. And remember, if you ever hit a wall, you can always go to the library’s Ask-a-Librarian page to e-mail your questions to our reference staff.

Another area in which library resources can help is learning a new language. Transparent Language Online is a fabulous program that will have you speaking and understanding foreign words and phrases in a surprisingly short time. Whether you access it via a Transparent Language app for iOS and Android devices or by USB flash drive, you’ll be on your way to mastering that new language in record time.

If you ever need help finding the right resource, stop by or call the reference desk. Whatever your new endeavor might be, we wish you success in 2016!

∼ Emily, library clerk, Warrenton central library 

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