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University Library Hosts First-ever DIY Festival

Digital Library Manager Kent Gerber shares how to draw in the style of Dr. Seuss at the library’s first-ever DIY Festival. (Photo credit: Reid Harer ’18)

There wasn’t a “shhhh” to be heard in the Bethel University Library on October 28. Instead the space was filled with beeping microwaves, electronic music, and discussions on buying eyeglasses, threading eyebrows, or changing a bike tire.

It was all part of the library’s first Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Festival, where students, staff, and faculty shared 15-minute presentations on DIY-able life skills that could save money and time. First-year student JJ Anderson, a biokinetics major with minors in Spanish and biology, shared eyebrow “threading” techniques. It’s a method of removing unwanted eyebrow hair with sewing thread wrapped tightly around the thumb and forefingers and wound up so that it pinches and pulls out the hair. It’s less painful and easier on the skin than waxing or tweezing.

Library Specialist Scott Kaihoi shared a recipe for making gourmet popcorn using just four ingredients and a microwave—making it a dessert even kitchen-less college students could achieve (recipes here). Campus Pastor Matt Runion shared methods for changing a bike tire, turning his bike upside-down between bookshelves to give the audience the full effect. There was a swing-dancing demo, electronic music being created in an alcove, and physics education major Hannah Eshenaur made slime out of Elmer’s glue and Borax.

The DIY Festival was launched by the library’s marketing team, which includes several recent Bethel graduates who have returned to join the library staff. They’re dedicated to remaining relevant in students’ lives and offering new and fun ways for the Bethel community to engage with the library, which the team defines as a multi-purpose “center of gathering.” The mission of Bethel University Library, which is revisited every year, is to “empower learning and support scholarship by opening pathways to resources and technology, fostering collaboration, and encouraging curiosity.”

“We have a renewed focus on lifelong learning,” says Erica Ross, circulation manager, who heard of another library’s DIY event while attending a Minnesota Library Association conference. “We loved the idea and thought it would be fun to see a professor showing how to tie a tie, change a bike tire, etc.”

The library team has recently launched “Bluebox”—a play on the well-known Redbox, but free, on-campus, and using the DVDs the library already owns. They’ve hosted gatherings for library student employees—40 strong—that included a game of “sardines” played between bookshelves. They also revamped the library’s lounge display, bringing in updated couches (the beloved leather ones will be auctioned off) and increasing the number of cookbooks, travel, and DIY-focused resources available in that space. In addition to coming to the library to study, do research, or finish a paper, the hope is that students and staff feel free to linger and learn about topics of interest. The library is also home to 3,427 DVDs—48% of them feature films—that any library card holder can check out. Patrons can borrow laptops, iPads, phone and computer chargers, video cameras, adapters, mics, and—at the Seminary library—even check out a blanket for cold days.

Bethel alumni can obtain a free Bethel University library card, entitling them to check out five books at a time. A $25 Friends of the Bethel Library membership entitles the holder to check out any library materials, including DVDs. Visit the library website for upcoming events, or follow the Bethel University Library on Instagram or Facebook.

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