When Marilyn Orr moved to Hudson in 2015, she couldn’t believe the number and quality of the programs offered by the Hudson Library. 

"I grew up in rural Nebraska, too far from town even to visit the library," she recalls. "I didn’t realize what a local library could be."

That changed fast, as she began to enjoy Hudson’s programs in music and entrepreneurship, along with author meetings. Orr soon decided that she wanted to be part of the scene, so she joined the Friends of the Hudson Library to support the library.

"We take access to a first-class library for granted," she said. "But when you think about it, a lot of people have to participate in order to make things work." 

Orr soon became a member of the Friends’ Board and began a successful program of online sales to supplement the group’s 13 regular monthly book sales. When the Friends decided to try outreach programs this year in addition to sales, Orr was ready with ideas. 

First is her upcoming "Leaves to Leaves" craft program, set for Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. in the Teen Room, in which she and friend Joyce Seli will demonstrate how to make decorative swags — for windows, fireplaces and mirrors — from old dictionaries.

Why dictionaries? 

"People hardly use dictionaries these days, yet many of them have beautiful paper, print and illustrations," Orr says. "It’s using something familiar in a new way — it’s a fun surprise, and it offers a creative outlet."

Crafting probably began in areas like Orr’s rural Nebraska, where waste was a dirty word. 

"So many crafts use discarded or repurposed items, like fabric squares for quilts or rags for rugs," she said. "We did this sort of thing in 4H programs, and my mother, aunt and sister were all crafters. It was part of a ‘saving’ culture, but what started as a necessity often became an art."

Like all crafts, the hands-on work of creating the swags is deeply satisfying, Orr says. 

"You can buy something in a store, but shopping just isn’t the same as fashioning something beautiful and useful from scratch," she says.

The swags may look complicated, but they are really simple to make. 

"Once you start, they go pretty fast," she says. 

The variety that results can be tailored to the season or the colors already in a home. The design and decoration of the leaves can match the holiday orange and brown for fall; red and green for Christmas; yellow and purple for Easter; and so on.

Children can get involved as well, making the swags a family project. 

"It’s really good for children to engage in these projects--it improves their hand-eye coordination, and it helps develop an aesthetic sense," according to Orr. "And it’s just fun to cut and glue things. My grandkids love this stuff."

A $5 fee will cover materials and can be paid at the time of registration or at the program itself. To register for "Leaves to Leaves," contact Orr directly at marilynjorr@me.com or call 513-236-8505. Sign up in the Friends sale room just inside the library entrance. Check the sign on the door for open hours.

For information on joining the Friends, contact Lynn Remly at remlylynn29@gmail.com. Basic membership is $15. For Friends programs, check the Friends box on the Library’s website at www.hudson.library.org.