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Is your e-reader running on empty? You may love your new Nook or Kindle, but building an e-book library can be costly. The good news is there’s plenty of free e-reading online, but you have to know where to look. Though libraries are becoming the best sources of free, newer e-books from major publishers (learn more), you can also find lots of new, classic, and unusual titles for the taking at a variety of sites.

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Do you want to learn a craft or art, but don’t feel inspired or know where to start? Or maybe you’re already a crafter or artist but would like to learn more and dig deeper into your passion. At the Kansas City Public Library, inspiration and guidance can be found in a wide and wonderful selection of titles about many arts and crafts!

In a series of articles, I will seek out some of the titles available in different arts and crafts, make suggestions on how to search for titles and other resources, and explore other ideas on using these resources – in general how to get creative about getting creative! And as I have experience in running a business making and selling my own crafts, I will explore the “getting down to business” side of crafting in an article of its own.

In this first article, I’m exploring a craft near and dear to my heart: jewelry design! I’ve been designing and making jewelry since the 1990s, and I frequently use Library resources to increase my skillset and keep inspired.  

If you are new to jewelry creation, one of the first things to think about is what sort of jewelry you want to make and the material and tools you’ll need to make it. Beading? Beadweaving? Gemstones? Wire wrapping? Metalsmithing? Vintage-inspired? What about making your own beads, or other components, in polymer clay, precious metal clay, glass, or crochet?

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The practice of making New Year’s Resolutions dates back to the ancient Romans, who not only established January 1 as the first day of the year but also invented the South Beach Diet (just kidding). Despite the timeless allure of starting over, it can be hard to stick to those year-end promises. The Library has many free resources that just might help you carry your best intentions well into 2011.

We’ve arranged this post by topic, focusing on some of the most popular areas of self-improvement. But that doesn’t mean you can’t research other goals like, for instance, quitting smoking, giving to charity, learning a language, improving your grades, or getting to know local history. Basically, If you can dream it, we can hook you up with a book, magazine, database, video, audio book, or maybe even a free class. Just apply the research techniques outlined below to your subject of choice.

Now, onto the Resolutions!

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