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If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to learn how to juggle, turn your copy of the newspaper into a flower or cancel your cable, then head to any of the Napa County Library branches on Saturday for the How-To Festival.

The festival offers a variety of classes that are free and open to anyone. The festival is in its third year, but accessing it should be easier than ever since it’s the first time the branches are participating. Although the majority of activities are still at the main branch in Napa, branches in American Canyon, Yountville and Calistoga are offering at least one class each hour.

“It’s fun,” said Melinda Mathis, teen librarian in Napa. “You get to learn so many different things.”

The most popular events are typically ones where the whole family can participate and make something, so organizers have made sure that there is something for families every hour – things like making fairy wings, buttons, recycled art and origami animals.

“Jewelry making is always a big hit,” she said, as is taiko drumming.

There are practical things, too, though. This year there will be classes on how to use a planner effectively, how to vote and how to plant a winter vegetable garden.

It’s one way the library can demonstrate that what libraries have to offer has changed over time, Mathis said. It’s not just about books, she said, it’s about helping community members come together, learn new things and save money.

“It’s a different way to interact with your library,” said Chelsea Hernandez-Garcia, library associate and How-To Festival organizer. In addition to classes being offered at the branches, about 10 more activities have been added to the main library’s schedule thanks to the end of construction that kept the event out of the community room last year.

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“More space means more programs,” Hernandez-Garcia said.

At the Napa branch, activities begin at 10 a.m. with the last events beginning at 3 p.m.

The schedule has changed slightly over the last three years as librarians learn what patrons like, Mathis said. For example, she said, fewer programs are planned in the first hour since the library isn’t as active then. The event also ends a little earlier so that organizers have time to clean up before closing at 6 p.m.


Public Safety Reporter

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working at as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC.