BOONTON — After more than three long months of shuttered doors Morris County’s libraries are beginning to gingerly return to something that looks like “normal.” Although most libraries were able to provide online materials and virtual programming via Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube, many patrons sorely missed the feel of a printed book in their hands.
As of Monday, July 13, the Boonton Holmes Library joined the newly reopened libraries to offer in-person lending services to the community and even added a brand-new online craft program to its weekly calendar.
“We never stopped serving the community while we were in stay-in-place mode,” says Lotte Newlin, Director. “In addition to offering online eBooks and videos 24/7, we also developed a rich palette of virtual programs for children and adults.” From Story Hour to Happy Hour, there was something for everyone. The newest addition, which launched via YouTube on July 16, is “Get Crafty with Miss Vicki,” a 10-week long series of original videos led by Boonton resident and art educator, Vicki Stafford. “Vicki and her family are very active library users,” notes Lotte. “So when I found out that Vicki is an experienced art instructor, I knew she would make a great addition to our summer programs.”
A self-described hillbilly from Newton, Vicki holds an impressive dual major degree from William Paterson University in Studio Arts and East Asian Studies with a minor in Japanese. “I’ve been engaged in some kind of arts — drawing, textiles — my entire life,” says Vicki. She started teaching art to children in 2013, initially at other studios but started her own studio in 2019 after a stint as a camp program intern at Boonton’s Culture Cabin. “I’m passionate about art in early childhood education,” she continues. Working out of her own studio Vicki felt that she would be better able to tailor her instruction to the needs and skills of young students. Currently, Vicki has added another activity to her busy schedule: mask making. For every mask she makes and sells on her Facebook page — Masks for New Jersey –, Vicki donates one to Eva’s Village, a homeless shelter and support center based in Paterson. To date, Vicki has donated over 300 masks to those in need.
The newly launched library program is designed to engage a wide age range of children in a weekly craft project. Each week, Vicki features a new video lesson via the library’s YouTube channel and on Facebook. Complete kits with all the materials needed will be available for pick up at the library. “Most of the projects are done with materials that people have readily on hand,” notes Vicki. “We hope the series will bring a bit of fun and creativity into the lives of our youngest patrons during these challenging times,” adds Lotte. More information about the videos and supplies lists may be found on the library’s website by clicking here.