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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Library Learning Week offers lessons on the practical (writing, history and business) to the pleasant (dancing, wildlife, drawing)

By Rachel Baker For The Spokesman-Review

In the late 1990s, Arthur the aardvark told us “Having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card.” Turns out that’s still true, thanks to events like Spokane Public Library’s Library Learning Week, which kicks off today.

In addition to normal event programming, Spokane Public Library is hosting a weeklong series of events celebrating that wonderful feeling of learning something new. And it’s not just things you can learn from books – this is a week full of dancing, doodling, stretching, songwriting and more, continuing through Sunday.

“I love this week, because it highlights the beautiful work public libraries do yearlong in Spokane, enhancing knowledge, creativity and person-to-person connection,” said local author and Spokane Public Library writing education specialist Sharma Shields. “Public libraries are vital to community health and well-being.”

Want to become the neighborhood history buff? Stop by the first event at the South Hill Library from 3-4 p.m. Monday to learn how to use local resources like city directories and building permits to research the history of your home.

Budding nature enthusiasts ages 6-14 can attend winter wildlife workshops to learn about the animals that live in Spokane year-round. Attendees will leave with resources for spotting local wildlife through the winter season and beyond.

It’s no secret that Spokane is home to a vibrant community of writers, so of course Library Learning Week has events for all you words people as well. Learn the craft of writing novels with Sonora Jha, or visit with Sharma Shields for group writing sessions and office hours for community discussion about the ins and outs of submitting, publishing and other mysteries of writing.

Feeling stiff after that week of subzero? Learn new ways to get moving with gentle flow yoga, stretches led by Washington State University students from the nutrition and exercise physiology department, or a K-Pop dance session (if you don’t have any Gen Z folks around to inform you, K-Pop is all the rage these days).

For those looking to lean into the height of cozy craft season, the week offers a mindful doodling session, a drop-in time for creatives of all ages to gather and work on current projects, and a Zentangle class to explore the worry-free art of making imagery with patterns. Classes for children will teach how to draw expressions, copy techniques used by other artists, and create a heartfelt portrait of an elder. “Be a Maker” classes will introduce young children to interesting materials and tools.

Local entrepreneurs and performing artists alike can swing by the Central Library’s video studio noon-3 p.m. Wednesday for a free professional headshot.

The Central Library will host a session on developing business ideas and connecting with local business resources 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. The class is hosted by Mark Pond, business research librarian.

In a time where home ownership and higher education are not as financially accessible as they once were, Pond recognizes business ownership as an important avenue to building community wealth.

“In my mind, that leaves business ownership as one of the last standing and most attractive approaches to building something that can increase in value over time and be handed off to subsequent generations,” Pond said.

His favorite aspect of the library events he hosts? “Seeing prospective or new business owners go from ‘This business startup process is overwhelming’ to ‘Oh, I can see the path forward from here and it’s not that complicated,’ ” Pond said.

Teens will find plentiful opportunities to connect at the Hillyard Library with anime club 3:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, and HOMAGO (an acronym for hanging out, messing around, geeking out) from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

The week offers even more with a tutorial for making homemade yogurt, a documentary screening and a songwriting class. No matter your niche, Spokane Public Library has you covered.

If the events aren’t incentive enough, Learning Week attendees will be entered to win an e-Reader.

Every event is free, but some require registration. Register for events and view the full schedule of activities at, or call (509) 444-5300 for more information.