Adam Winger, director, North Logan City Library

Has anyone ever really thought, “Christmas is coming up, I need to visit the library to find a perfect gift…?” I doubt it, and that’s why I am excited to share a few ideas that might just make you a “holiday rockstar” without breaking the bank. Don’t believe me? Just keep reading.

Trying to impress my new in-laws with the “perfect” gift proved difficult until I stumbled across some old home movies of my wife in her childhood home. I witnessed the cherished moments of a family — I had only known for a short time — growing together. I loved seeing my beautiful wife as an awkward little tomboy, and watching many of the moments fondly told at family gatherings. Boom! The perfect gift. I began transferring the old videocassettes onto DVDs using a brick-like camcorder and an iMac. For the price of a stack of blank DVDs, a few minutes to finalize the discs and an $8 splurge on a few disc cases, I became a gifting legend. Christmas morning we watched those memories, and now the tradition continues every year.

It is now even easier to transfer your home movies to DVD because, as in North Logan, many libraries offer MakerSpaces where patrons can duplicate analog and digital video to DVD and/or shareable digital files. Simply bring in your VHS or old camcorder, and we can help you convert those memories into a gift that will win you praise for years to come. Don’t despair if you don’t have VHS tapes to transfer. Remember when photos were printed on paper? Well those photos in shoeboxes and albums can be quickly scanned, printed and even remixed into videos in little time. Several local libraries have rapid scanners that scan 90 photos per minute onto a thumb drive, giving you the foundation for tremendous gifts. You could simply tie a bow around a stack of pictures, and share them with high school friends or perhaps quickly design a custom T-shirt or calendar. I use Animoto to create polished videos by simply uploading digital images, choosing a soundtrack and burning to a disc or sharing online.

Maybe you are thinking that with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season you simply don’t have the time to transfer home movies or scan family photos. Many libraries will do the work for you at a fraction of the cost you see online, or consider your nieces or nephews who may love to earn a few extra dollars for the holidays by doing the work for you.

MakerSpaces offer numerous creative opportunities that range from 3D printing to calligraphy. At the North Logan Library, we recently purchased an AxiDraw that can write your Christmas cards for you using a pen, marker or even a crayon. Using a computer and design software, you can program a mechanical arm to write using beautiful calligraphy or even replicating an image using a writing utensil. My favorite creation using the AxiDraw was a reproduction of a 200-year-old map that took less than an hour to produce. 3D printing unleashes a new level of creativity.

As you plan meaningful gifts for the friends and family in your life, visit the libraries in Cache Valley for gifts that will transform you into a “holiday legend.”