How-To Afternoons Series

Are you looking to pick up a new skill or hobby? Then check out our new series of programs aimed at getting you started with the guidance of an expert and some interactive, hands-on practice. Come and try something new with us!

These sessions will be held on Sunday afternoons until Memorial Day. How-to sessions currently go through April, but more will be added soon:

Upcoming How-To Afternoons Events

Learn even more with our Universal Class for Libraries through the Chelmsford Library – a whole collection of online classes, free with your library card!

 Previous How-Tos:

Seed Saving with Gretel Anspach:


Ms. Anspach guided the audience through a lecture and slide presentation detailing the hows and why’s of seed saving, this past Sunday. She discussed how seed-saving works (grow the plants until they are ripe), what types of plants are good for saving seeds (Any that has them, but may want to start with something simple like beans, peas, sunflowers) and why someone would be interested in saving seeds (continue to grow a really excellent variety year after year, it’s cheaper than buying new seed every year. She described the process for saving tomatoes, which sounded pretty messy, but very doable from home with enough room. Most importantly though, she left us with a host of resources for reference from home, and suggestions for where to buy seed that others have saved in order to promote plant diversity in your own home garden, without the work of having to save your own seed and commit to planting the same plants and veggies year after year.

Seed-saving resources on the web:

Additional resources from our catalog:


Play the Ukulele with Julie Stepanek:

Ms. Stepanek guided the audience of over 40 people for this lesson. Many brought ukuleles they owned, other borrowed one of the 27 Ms. Stepanek provided. She led the class through a number of popular songs many of which required a mere two chords to play. The class was singing and playing along with her after just a short amount of time. Ms. Stepanek provided the course materials that she used in the class for us to share here so you can try at home. Don’t have a ukulele to play at home? Borrow ours! To link to it in the catalog and place a hold, click here.

Ukulele class presentation.pptx

Ukulele playing resources on the web:

Additional resources from our catalog:


Vegetable gardening with Susan Hammond

Susan Hammond joined us on April 8 to walk an audience of 40 through the various aspects of beginning vegetable gardening. Her presentation included great vegetables to begin with (Peas, beans), how to read a seed catalog (she even brought Johnny’s seed catalogs for everyone!), why to buy seedlings from a local retailer or farm as opposed to some sourced from outside our area, why and how to do a soil test and different examples of great gardens wherever you have space. She brought along an example of a self-watering container for planting, which can fit quite a lot of plants for people that don’t have a lot of space in their yards for a garden. She included a handout with a number of different resources for finding more information about specific veggies that would help the beginning gardener to plan.

Here are some resources form the Mass Master Gardeners:

Additional resources from our catalog:


Bike Maintenance with om Francis of the Mass Bike Coalition

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, a group of about 35 huddled in the library’s carriage house for a two hour session on the basics of Bicycle maintenance lead by Tom Francis of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition. He introduced the group to many of the specialized tools that can be used to perform maintenance from home, and he demonstrated much of this maintenance (checking the chain; fixing a flat; adjusting seat and handlebars). He did recommend that more serious issues, like brake problems, should be checked by a professional bike maintenance person. Many of the attendees brought their own bicycles to receive individual assistance following the presentation. As part of this how-to session, the library purchased two bicycle tool kits that can be checked out and used at home.

For more information on bike maintenance, check out these resources from our catalog:


Raising Chickens, with Lisa Bougoulas

Lisa Bougoulas, co-owner of the Chelmsford Agway led an information session on raising chickens in your backyard. She began by covering the local laws around keeping chickens, including the need to have your property approved by the Chelmsford Board of Health. The full document outlining the BOH requirements is below. She then moved on to the more fun aspects of chicken farming, including the different breeds available in this area, what supplies an interested chicken farmer will need to purchase first, and some important things to consider for the coop. Her full handout is included below, as well as a link to Chelmsford TV’s recording of the talk. Lisa was so much fun to listen too as she recounted many of her own learning experiences over the past 7 years.

Chelmsford BOH rules

Chicken breeds

Lisa’s handout