App State librarian helps students work through mental health creatively

The+outside+of+Belk+Library+and+Information+Commons.+Hannah+Pope%2C+a+librarian+for+the+university%2C+partnered+with+Wellness+and+Prevention+Services+to+help+students+connect+during+the+pandemic.

Hiatt Ellis

The outside of Belk Library and Information Commons. Hannah Pope, a librarian for the university, partnered with Wellness and Prevention Services to help students connect during the pandemic.

Zoe Zink, A&C Reporter

College libraries don’t typically host arts and crafts events such as embroidery or card making. However, one librarian at the Belk Library and Information Commons uses her skills to aid students struggling with mental health with two events over Zoom.

Hannah Pope recognized a need for students to unwind and relax during this stressful time and is using her skills to host two different events over Zoom aimed toward students. This is largely why she decided to use her job as the emerging technologies librarian at Belk Library to aid students who may be struggling.

“We spend so much time in front of our computers these days. It’s really just a way for students to be able to learn new skills and actually use their hands to make something,” Pope said. 

The first event is a calming embroidery workshop, where participants will learn how to embroider a small design; the second is an LED card-making workshop, where participants will be taught to assemble circuits to create light-up cards. 

Pope wants students to leave with a tangible element of the workshop while also participating in self-care. 

Pope reached out to the Wellness and Prevention Services on campus to help collaborate and brainstorm different ways to help students alleviate stress. Elisabeth Cavarallo, assistant director and coordinator for student mental wellness, provided Pope with resources such as infographics and templates for embroidery. 

“I think what is most important is for students to have a variety of options, as self-care is not one size fits all. Programs like this give students the chance to try out a new skill, and also to connect with others,” Cavarallo said. “Connection is such an important part of positive mental health, and hobbies and art are a great way to make those connections.” 

The library offers several programs to aid mental health in students, especially since the emergence of COVID-19.

In previous years, Pope utilized the Maker Lab, a center in the library where users can bring their ideas to life through robotics, vinyl cutters and more, to host similar events, like designing and creating boxes or laser-cutting keychains. 

“A lot of people use the library to study, which is great, but there are so many things that the library can offer for students,” Pope said. “We can help you not only study but really grow both academically and professionally.” 

Both events will be capped at 25 participants, but Pope hopes to host similar events over Zoom in the future.

Wellness and Prevention Services also offers resources for students, which can be found on its webpage

Registration for Zoom is now open for both events. Embroidery will be on March 25 at 2 p.m., and card making on April 1 at 2 p.m.