Christmas has come and gone and the excitement that goes along with it has come and gone as well. How will we entertain the family and ourselves throughout the droll, gray month of January? The area has plenty of January events and activities for all including events at the Independence Public Library, Eclectix Art and Gifts and much more.

IPL not only provides a warm, cozy place to read or check out reading material, it also provides a warm, cozy place to learn and have fun. Along with the library's regular activities, they are asking the community to join them Jan. 8 for the Library Open House and Friends Social. The Friends of the Library open house will help everyone who attends discover everything our local library has to offer and the many accomplishments they made in 2018. Patrons are invited to take a tour of the library, even going "backstage" to see how the library runs; refreshments will be provided. Jan. 17, the library will host Race and Incarceration as part of Living Room Conversations. From 6 to 7 p.m., attendees will hold a conversational bridge across issues which divide and separate people. Adult Services Coordinator Brandon West said Living Room Conversations provide an easy structure for engaging in "friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree." The conversations are meant to increase understanding, reveal common ground and allow discussion on possible solutions.

"Increasing attention has been given to the disproportionate numbers of minorities in American prisons, especially African American detainees," West said. Many see it as a reflection of racial bias in the criminal justice system and they want a criminal justice system that is fair and makes safer communities.

The Tatanka exhibit will be opening Jan. 29 with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the library. 

The exhibit will focus on the bison, a North American species, whose story stretches from Plains Indian hunters to entrepreneurial industrialists to dedicated conservationists to today's producers and enthusiasts. West said the exhibit celebrates the history and significance of bison and highlights the importance of preservation. The exhibit will be on display through March 1.

Eclectix Art and Gifts will hold several classes during the month of January which are sure to keep one happily occupied. Jan. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon, kids are invited to Kids Recreate the Classics with Lindsay Graves. Preschool through 8th grade students are eligible to join the class at a cost of $30 per student which includes all supplies. The class series helps kids explore famous works of art through a different media. The Jan. 5 class will focus on a piece by Claude Monet. Jan 6 from noon to 4 p.m. will be Beginner Watercolor with Louise Woodard who will help one create a watercolor winter scene painting to take home. The cost of the class is $30 if you bring your own supplies (see supply list on the Eclectix Facebook page) or $40 if you use supplies provided by the gallery.

A popular class is back — So You Want to do Stained Glass? with Zoe Wahl — will be Jan. 12 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and will teach students the basics of creating a stained glass piece in the copper foil method. Instruction will include safety, chemicals, pattern cutting, glass cutting/grinding/foiling, soldering and patina. The class cost is $25 which includes all supplies but is limited to five participants who are 16 years of age or older. Jan. 13 from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Rachel Unruh will present Learn Calligraphy. The two-part class features Bounce Calligraphy skills which will be taught using holders and nibs, and black India ink. It is suitable for all skill levels and students will learn some of the elements and principles of art. Supplies will be provided but if you have a 17 by 17 inch drawing board, you are asked to bring it. Cost of the class is $25 and is limited to 12 people.

Andrea Sitton will present her ever-popular class, Alcohol Inks, Jan. 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. The class is limited to 10 students, 13 years of age or older, and cost is $35. No supplies are needed but attendees are encouraged to bring an apron or cover up as alcohol inks are extremely staining. Jan. 20, Unruh and Wahl will host Mosaics - Direct Method from 2 to 5 p.m. The class is divided into two due to the adhesive being used needs 24 hours to dry before the grout is added. Participants are asked to bring ideas but to keep it simple; photos will be available for inspiration if needed. The cost is $35 per person and limited to eight participants ages 13 and up (parental/guardian permission will be needed for minors.) Students are encouraged to wear full shoes and work clothes or an apron, and either kitchen or coated garden gloves. At the end of the second class, participants will go home with a completed piece.

The last class listed for Eclectix in January is Recreate the Classics with Lindsay Graves for high school students and up on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon. Again, students will look at a piece by Claude Monet and the cost is $30. Check out the Eclectix Facebook page to see details of all classes.

Join Newton's True Value Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and create a Valentine's Day Pinterest Project. Sign up between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to enjoy some free family fun making a Valentine's Day candle holder. Four designs will be available to choose from or you can create your own with provided paint. Many time slots are already filling up so be sure to get signed up early to choose the time you want your family to participate in the fun. Check out their Facebook page for details.

Just because it's January doesn't mean you can't visit the Ralph Mitchell Zoo where each Thursday in January they offer Keeper Chat: Snake Feeding. Head to the zoo between 11 and 11:20 a.m. and watch the snakes get fed as the zookeeper talks about them and answers zoo-related questions.