Poway, California - The timing could not have been better. In the wake of this week’s Earth Day celebration, the Create Space program at the San Diego County Library in Poway “upcycled” old books into working clocks.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term upcycle, it’s a variation on recycling but without breaking down the item’s materials. According to the website hipcycle.com, upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful.

“I was interested in having the kids take something old and making it into something new and creative,” said Liz Vagani, the Poway youth services librarian. “We used discarded books for this project.”

Vagani and library staff cut out the middle of the pages, leaving a hollow square shape to house the clockwork mechanism.

“The clockwork is pre-packaged so we don’t have to worry about assembling all the gears,” she said. “But the kids still get to assemble the clockwork for their projects.”

The children selected a book and began working on their projects. They had ribbon attached to the front and back covers to secure their clocks once they were completed.

Then they set about assembling the clockwork, meticulously attaching the hour, minute and second hands to the clockwork motor poking out a hole in the book cover.

After personalizing their clock with paint and markers, their clocks were ready to work once a battery was inserted.

“The entire purpose of the Create Space program is to teach kids the skills to do things on their own,” said Vagani.

The program, which is for kids in grades 1-5, meets on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. and continues through May with drawing lessons with professional artist Rose Irelan.

The series wraps up with a celebration on May 28.