Gift Locally (And on a Budget)

Gift-giving season is here, but budgets are getting tighter. I’ve got three ways to make this season easier on your wallet and beneficial for our community:

1. Get Creative with the Sound + Vision Studio

Your library card gives you access to a recording studio, a digitization suite, and all the video, audio and graphics editing software you could ever need.  All this power lives in the Sound + Vision Studio (S+V).  The best part is, you don’t need to be an expert to use the resources here!  

Here’s some of the things you can do in the studio, with minimal experience:

  • Digitize old movies from camcorder tapes, and edit them if you feel saucy (call first to make sure they have an adapter for your specific tape)
  • Slap your favorite saying on the button template, print it out and borrow the button maker to make custom flair
  • Design a custom bookmark
  • Scan photos to make digital scrapbooks
  • Record yourself reading a story and send it to someone you love
  • Record the story of your life, so far

The folks at our Tech Desk, just outside of the studio, are available for quick assistance to get you started on any of these projects.  If you want more in-depth assistance with any of the software programs, check out lessons on LinkedIn Learning.

2.  Gift a Movie Night

This one is like a gift card, but way more cozy.  Invite someone you love to come over and watch a movie, or two. With your library card, you can stream thousands of movies on Kanopy –from cozy, to suspenseful, and everything in between.  If you want to make the evening really special, head to the library and browse the stacks in the 641s and 642s. My recommendation is Real Snacks , which features many delicious options for intense movie watching.

3.  Shop Local

Sure, you can probably get stuff cheaper on Amazon, but why would you? When you keep your dollars local, you are also giving a gift to our community.  Those few extra dollars support local jobs, bring big name authors to town, keep our downtown vibrant, and fund bookish events. I love to shop locally at bookstores.  We’re so lucky to have The Raven, Dusty Bookshelf, and (ahem) Friends Express inside the library entrance.  Here’s a few other local options you might have overlooked for the bibliophiles on your list.

Toy Store

You can find something to delight bookish folks, large and small, at the Toy Store.  Stopping by for a few minutes on a picturesque autumn day, yielded these five-star gift ideas:

OMG the cutest books and book related accessories.  If you are gifting littles this year, you have my permission to purchase books that you would enjoy reading to them.  I picked up this Quotable Kid book for myself because I really need somewhere to preserve that time my 10 year-old said, “Stop complaining, my dear Ms. Hyde.  Others have it far worse”

Looking for ways to encourage your kid to get off of screens?  Toy Store has everything you need to gift the comfiest book nook or lounge spot.  My current life’s mission is to find a spot where I can hang the light up rainbow canopy and rainbow floor cushion.  You know, for the kids.  Yeah.  The kids.


So, this is my ideal bookish gift basket. Could someone please send this anonymously to my family?  Punny tea with all the accouterments, PLUS comfy nerd socks?  Yes please.  Brits also has lovely things to nosh whilst being transported into your favorite winter read.  

Speaking of noshing, stop by Au Marche, next door, if you’ve got someone with a sweet-tooth on your list.

I wish you happy gifting this year. Just remember, keep it simple, and keep it local!

-Angela Hyde is the Friends & Foundation Program Coordinator at Lawrence Public Library.