Try your hand at something new during International Creativity Month

When most of us think of January, we think of boring days that follow the hectic holiday season. Families are getting back into the routine of school, work and extracurricular activities. A few of us are trying to keep our New Year's resolutions at least until month's-end, and many of us are counting the days till spring break.

What you probably didn't know is that January is also International Creativity Month, the brainchild of Randall Munson, business executive, author, motivational speaker and educator. Munson declares that January is the perfect time to put some energy and time into creative activities. Munson explains that creativity is for everyone, not just those of us who have talents in the visual or performing arts. According to Munson, creativity is critical to survival in a world that is in a constant state of change. He reminds us through his writings and website that creativity is not just painting, dancing, singing or drawing, but it is the willingness to look at our world in a new way or from a new perspective, and use the insights that we gain to solve problems, strengthen relationships, improve our quality of life, and to leave the world a better place than we found it.

Although his premise may sound more daunting than the most ambitious New Year's resolution list, the Beaufort County Library has the staff, resources, materials and programming that will help you get creative. Whether you want to rethink how you are saving for the future, learn calligraphy or want to research a new career path, we can help. Most county residents know we have a large collection of non-fiction books, periodicals, DVDs, eBooks and databases that will inform you, as well as inspire you.

In addition to our collection of materials, the Beaufort County library offers a wide range of programs and events for all ages that will encourage participants to stretch their creativity. Book clubs and book discussions for adults are held at all locations, and titles to be read and discussed range from mysteries to nonfiction and historical works to inspirational reads. Get further details about upcoming book discussions on our website or by visiting your nearest branch library.

Everyone knows that you can check out books on financial planning, health and fitness, and life strategies, but did you know that the Beaufort County libraries have free events scheduled on these topics during the first half of 2014? Tips for healthy aging will be presented at the Hilton Head Island library, while the mysteries of the teenage brain will be discussed at the St. Helena Island library. If getting organized is on your to-do list for 2014, we've got you covered with presentations at the Beaufort and Hilton Head libraries. If getting a better handle on personal finances is on your radar, then join us at the Beaufort library for a seminar led by an area financial planner. Teens and adults who would like to get an introduction to yoga can join us at the Bluffton or Hilton Head libraries, where an instructor will introduce you to basic moves and positions.

Genealogy and local history buffs should stop by the Beaufort District Collection on the second floor of the Beaufort library. You'll lose track of time as you browse the documents and photos that tell the history of Beaufort County and the Lowcountry. BDC staff offer a wide range of programs across the county, so check our online calendar or drop by your neighborhood branch to get the specifics. Upcoming offerings include digital preservation, preserving family treasures and heirlooms, and how to start a family research project.

If you would like to get more creative while using technology, we can help with that, too. We have manuals and guidebooks that may be checked out that will help you learn how to use software such as Excel, PowerPoint, Photoshop and others. The St. Helena Technology Club meets regularly at the library and can help answer questions about Facebook, iPad apps and smartphones. Each library branch also offers computer classes throughout the year, and, of course, everything is free.

Another way to introduce more creativity into your lives is to try out a hands-on art program, taste some recipes from other cultures, or attend a painting program with your school-age child. Crafters meet at the St. Helena library each month to work on their current project while visiting and learning from each other. Fans of rug hooking -- from beginner to expert -- meet at the Bluffton library on a monthly basis. Gardeners are heading to the Beaufort Library for a series of informative programs that will be presented in March. Parents are joining their school-age kids at the Hilton Head library to try painting with "everything but a brush." Foodies can prepare new dishes or sample foods from other cultures at the St. Helena Cooking Club. Check out the library website for upcoming dates and cuisines.

As you can see, the Beaufort County Library System has everything you need to unleash your creativity, and it's all free. Get more details on our website or visit your neighborhood branch, where you can get a printed schedule of events. Come in and check us out, and get inspired to be creative all year long.

Julie Bascom is the children's manager at Hilton Head Island library.

Original story at the Island Packet