Culture: Library’s How-To Fest teaches everything you need to know

May 9, 2012 at 5:00 am
Culture: Library’s How-To Fest teaches everything you need to know
Allison Jamison Woosley

More than just a place to check out books or do homework, a public library is a community resource center. It’s a good, quiet place to learn about something new, but normally not in a hands-on kind of way. And we’re so lazy these days that instead of exploring the darkest bookshelves or actually, you know, talking to a real-life librarian, we just narrow our search terms on Google until we find what we need. While a YouTube tutorial can save your day in about six minutes, there’s something a bit more exciting happening at the downtown branch of the Louisville Free Public Library on Saturday — a five-hour, completely free How-To Festival, featuring local experts on just about everything from salsa dancing to using chopsticks to fixing a bike.

“We all learn from books and websites, but this event will offer lively camaraderie and social connections that add to the experience,” says library director Craig Buthod. “Bringing learning alive makes it more fun.”

Among the instructors is Spalding University president and ocean-crosser Tori Murden McClure, who will offer her expertise on creating the perfect emergency survival kit. Courier-Journal columnist Bob Hill and WFPL’s Gabe Bullard and Erin Keane will all be there sharing tips on writing and storytelling. In the Board Room (appropriately), there will be back-to-back sessions related to business — including how to start one, how to network, and how to run a meeting. There will be various cooking, gardening and sewing classes, as well as dancing, juggling, bee-keeping, building a fire and even filing for divorce.

Allison Jamison Woosley, a certified professional dog trainer with the Kentucky Humane Society, will give two presentations — one just for tricks, and the other a scientific approach to how dogs think and learn, which can help solve behavioral problems.

“Dogs generally love to learn, and keeping a dog mentally active and stimulated is one key to having a well-behaved dog,” Woosley says.

If you’re looking for a new, low-impact form of exercise that can mellow you out, visit Dr. M.O. “Baba” Serikali’s Tai Chi session. A Tai Chi instructor for 40 years, Serikali encourages people to at least try it out for its physical and spiritual benefits. “It gives people an opportunity to work more on the internal than the external,” he says. “Tai Chi is a door opener for those who enjoy it. Try it, and if you like it, do it. If not, do something else, because you’ve got to do something.”

There will be 50 sessions taking place in various spaces throughout the library that day, and a complete schedule can be found at the LFPL website. I’d recommend making a schedule of the rooms and times of the workshops you’re interested in, but wandering around is perfectly fine, too — you never know what you’ll stumble upon, and you might even make a new friend.

“Everything is better when we share it,” Serikali says. “We learn because we need to know.”

How-To Festival
Saturday, May 12
Louisville Free Public Library
301 York St. • 574-1611
Free; 10 a.m.-3 p.m.