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Library Knitting and Craft Group Encourages Collaboration and Relaxation

Lunchtime gatherings offer opportunity for staff to learn and share ideas.


July 23, 2013—For more than 10 years, Harvard Library staff members have come together to knit and craft, sharing new projects and patterns, learning skills and chatting with colleagues.

Around 2003, Laura Morse, director of library systems for Library Technology Services (LTS), spearheaded the initiative to form the group that now meets many Tuesdays at 12:30 at 90 Mt. Auburn Street.  “The 90 Mt. Auburn Knitting Group grew organically over time,” she said.  “OIS [now LTS] staff who knit began to meet in our old office at 1280 Mass. Ave. during lunch. Sue Kriegsman [now at the Office for Scholarly Communication] expressed an interest in learning to Stacy Kowalczyk [no longer at Harvard] and me. Stacy, Sue and I started to meet regularly and had many fun field trips to Woolcott, a much-beloved local yarn store that closed a few years ago.”  

Others learned about the group  and started attending—including Cathy Conroy, who worked at the Law School Library at the time; Linda Collins, from Lamont; and Robin McElheny, from the Archives. “When we moved to 90 Mt. Auburn, the knitting group came too, and others became core members.”

“We share ideas and inspire each other,” said McElheny, while knitting an intricately patterned pair of socks. “We learn a lot from each other.”

Abigail Bordeaux was a novice when she joined three years ago: “I brought a lot of questions about my projects to the more experienced members of the group.” Now Bordeaux is a pro. 

Conroy mentioned the group’s “yarn crawls”—trips to several yarn shops in one day. They have also collaborated on baby blankets for colleagues with newborns. “We each make a piece and then put them all together to form the blanket.”

Craft and knitting groups also meet at 625 Massachusetts Avenue and the Law School Library. “Staff at 625 Mass. Ave. started a weekly ‘craft lunch’ a couple of years ago; while several of the inaugural members were knitters, and knitting and crocheting continues to have a strong presence in the group, it’s really a very informal gathering of 625 folks from all three floors who eat lunch and work on crafts or talk about crafts they'd like to do,” said Danielle Adams, who, with Christine Esalo, organized the group.

Conroy added, “I think groups like this actually help get work done. You get to know and like your colleagues. It cultivates a desire to collaborate.”

To learn more about the group at 90 Mt. Auburn Street, which welcomes all Harvard Library staff members, contact Cathy Conroy or Abigail Bordeaux.