Amidst a slew of programs — summer reading, origami, Lego, music celebrations, arts, Every Child Ready to Read, storytimes — the staff at Tony Hillerman Library in Albuquerque still found time to go “beneath the surface” and delve deep into a genre that is popular with the teen set. One Saturday afternoon a month, Laura Metzler, YA librarian, hosts a steampunk craft at the library.
What is steampunk? Imagine a sci-fi future, but an alternate reality. Instead of electricity powering everything — steam power is the energy of choice. Instead of streamlined, “Vulcan”-esque costuming, the frills and fanciness of Victorian culture is the fashion. Think gears, goggles, mustaches, timepieces, heavy machinery and lace-up boots. Gearing towards teens, steampunk programming will definitely bring in fans of Scott Westerfield and Phillip Pullman.
When I visited Tony Hillerman, a loyal following worked studiously on steampunk magnets (prior activities included button-making, photo-tinting and candles). Cute and fun, we all happily cut the heads out from pictures adorable pets* and glued them atop Victorians posed for portraits. Top it off with a boiler replete with goggles, and voile’! We steampunked our magnets!
(*Laura explained, it was Victorian humor to replace faces in portraits with animal heads. What fun!)