Hearts from the Heart of the Book
Paper hearts cut from literary works turned into beautiful cards for loved ones — this was the idea behind the Heart of the Book Valentine’s Day card making workshop. The event was conceived by library staff as a way to spark interest in the library’s many services and bring students together for a budget-friendly celebration.
Claudia Juarez, junior biology major, said she was happy to learn about the event and it was the perfect opportunity to make a Valentine for her fiancé.
“I just think that it’s really nice that the school comes together and to see everyone interacting, making cards for their loved ones,” Juarez said.
The event was hosted by the Texas A&M University-San Antonio Library on Valentine’s Day in CAB Room 202N. The workshop was free and the library staff provided complimentary Little Debbie snack cakes and lemonade as an extra treat for everyone who attended.
Jessica Burnette, library specialist on the public services team and programming committee, said they had a lot of old books just sitting in the back of the library and they were trying to find a creative way to use them.
“I was just tearing out the book pages,” Burnette said. “And I found a book on how to use old book pages and recycle them into art.”
Tearing out pages from the middle of old books became the inspiration for the name of the event, Heart of the Book, Burnette said. She went on to say it’s a good way for students to unwind and do something creative. All students have to do is come in with their imagination and creativity, and do whatever they want with the cards. It’s also an excellent way to recycle unused library books, she added.
Sarah Timm, public services manager, said it’s important to note the types of books that are selected for recycling. The library has subject librarians who determine which books go into their collection. On occasion, books are donated to the library but some may be too old or may not support the courses taught at the university. The library will donate those books which do not make it into our collection to a company named Better World Books. However, she added, if they will not take the books, the library recycles them rather than throw them away.
Timm said her staff was exploring a holiday to sync up with a craft event and they already had books they wanted to recycle in a useful way, so Valentine’s Day worked out perfectly. She said she’s attended similar events around campus and there’s normally lots of participation.
“I feel like students usually respond well to crafty events,” Timm said. “It’s also budget-friendly for us. We don’t have to put in too much money and we still get a good turn out and people seem to enjoy it.”
Iris Castillo, junior education major, was making a Valentine’s card for her husband using some of the pre-cut hearts fashioned from old encyclopedias. She said she enjoys events like this and has attended a couple other craft workshops hosted by the library.
I did their Christmas one, they did little mini snow globes and gift tags,” Castillo said. “I’m also on JagSync, so I look at all of their events as well.”
Castillo said she is constantly in the library because they have a lot of study areas for students. But many students are not aware of all the library has to offer, which is why Timm and Burnette had a strategy in mind for choosing the best room to host this workshop.
Timm said Room 202N is usually a quiet study room. So, hosting the event in that room was a good way to familiarize students with the space. She said since the room is in the back of the library, students must walk all the way through the library to get to the workshop. She went on to say students may not know there are comfortable chairs, puzzle tables, computers and more study rooms available for their use.
“It forces them to come through the library and see what other things we have,” Timm said. “So if nothing else, by hosting it in this space, maybe we’re drawing in students who’ve never been to the library before.”
Burnette said she is always working to find creative ways to promote the library and show students all they have to offer. One fun way they promote the library is through the use of their ‘unofficial’ mascot Fanny the Frog.
Fanny, a bright-green stuffed animal wearing a pink dress and pink bow on top of her head, paid a visit to the Valentine’s Day card-making workshop and shared a table with Castillo and Juarez. Burnette regularly posts pictures of Fanny the Frog on the library’s Facebook and Instagram pages as a fun way to highlight the library’s resources, such as children’s books in the juvenile section of the A&M-San Antonio Library.
Burnette said to keep an eye out for Fanny on social media and follow them on JagSync for future events like the Valentine’s Day workshop.