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Sewickley library among northern libraries hosting How-to Festival

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:18 p.m.

From raising chickens to making craft beer, seven community libraries will offer a day of “how-to” programs and activities that allow visitors to try something new.

“It's a day where people can learn how to do almost anything at their local library,” librarian Meghan Snatchko of the Sewickley Public Library said. That library will join those in Avalon, Fox Chapel, McCandless; and Hampton, Shaler and Richland townships for a How-to-Festival on June 22.

At Shaler North Hills Library, a chicken will help a retired librarian show program participants how farm fowl can be raised in suburban environments, said Marie Jackson, adult services director.

The former librarian “was auditioning her chickens to see which one would be a good performer,” Jackson said.

If backyard farm creatures aren't an option, participants at Northland Public Library in McCandless can learn a kinetic meditation method called Zentangle, spokeswoman Donna Rau said.

The abstract drawing technique uses repetitive patterns that can act as a calming mechanism, she said.

The festival is a chance for libraries to strut their stuff, Rau said.

“The library can be a community center as well as a place of books and learning,” she said. “These different programs open up people to the library.”

The event also gives people a chance to explore other communities and libraries, said Jackson, of the Shaler library.

While someone can take out a book on an activity, said Diane Illis, assistant director of Northern Tier Regional Library, some hobbies are better learned through experience such as playing the flute or using sign language, two programs planned at the Richland Township library.

“If you want a book, you go to the library, but that's not always how people learn,” Illis said.

Gone are the days when patrons came to the library exclusively for reading material, Rau said.

“We're bringing people to the library for very unconventional reasons,” she said. “Libraries are an exciting place to be.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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