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Libraries of Things | Library Hacks

In search of short-term use of cake tins, tenting gear, or bikes? These libraries lend out all of these objects and extra. In all of those instances, patrons pay for loss or injury, however librarians say it hasn’t been a lot of an issue. What uncommon objects can be found for checkout in your library of issues? Tell us within the feedback part. 

Cake Tins

“Our patrons benefit from the alternative to make a specialty cake resembling Elmo, Barbie, or LEGO with out the expense of shopping for a pan they could solely use as soon as,” says Denison (TX) Public Library director Kimberly Bowen. Patrons can try three cake and cookie molds at a time and renew twice. They’re requested handy wash objects and dry completely earlier than returning them to the circulation desk (not the e-book drop); a $2.00 cost outcomes if objects aren’t clear. To date, nothing has come again broken.

Baking objects (left) and STEAM choices from the Denison (TX) Public Library


STEAM science kits will also be checked out from DPL. The themed units embrace an plane engineer package, a human physique package, Snap Circuits, and Okay’NEX constructing units. Patrons can try two kits without delay for 2 weeks; pickup and return occur on the entrance desk. DPL hopes so as to add circulating fishing poles, sort out bins, stitching machines, and craft kits.


Wheels for mortgage from the Ohio’s Mansfield/Richland County Public Library

A grant from the Richmond (OH) Public Well being Division underwrote bikes for the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library (MRCPL) in Mansfield, OH, which has been lending them since fall of 2017. Bicycles with headlights, taillights, locks, bells, baskets, and helmets, are loaned for the day and should be returned 30 minutes earlier than the library closes.

The library maintains the bikes with volunteers from an area bike group, Richland Strikes. They’re saved within the winter and accessible within the hotter months. Riders should current a photograph ID and library card and signal a person settlement and legal responsibility waiver.


Playful loaners from Australia’s Singleton Toy Library

The Singleton Library in Singleton New South Wales, AU, affords practically 400 academic toys, video games, and puzzles specializing in creating cognitive and developmental abilities. Checkout is for 3 weeks, and objects could also be renewed twice. The toy library was initially run by an area group known as Uniting Care Incapacity, however the library took over when the service was eradicated. A group funding program purchases new toys. The library fees an annual membership price of $33 per household. All of the toys are cleaned upon return (typically by library volunteers); new purchases should be straightforward to wash.


A seed library show at Watauga County Library. Proper: Patrons take a look at seed packages on view in an previous card catalog.

The Watauga County Library in Boone, NC, promotes wholesome dwelling with its seed library. Via funding from Blue Ridge Ladies in Agriculture, the library collects, catalogs, and checks out open-pollinated seeds (seeds that, as soon as planted and grown, will produce crops just like the mother or father). Patrons don’t should return seeds, however the library affords seed-saving info and workshops in the event that they want to.

When the seed library began in April 2017, it was supported by a number of unbiased seed corporations, native companies, and members of the rising group. Seeds are cataloged alphabetically and housed in previous card catalogs. Patrons fill out a kind indicating what they’re taking and in the event that they plan to save lots of seeds from grown crops. Patrons can take as much as six packets per household; customers also can register to be devoted seed savers on the library by filling out a kind.

Tenting Tools

College students from an AP environmental group used these tents from the Enka Excessive College media middle throughout a visit to the to North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains.

Nestled within the North Carolina mountains, the Enka Excessive College Media Heart in Candler lends tenting gear. An area grant underwrote four-person tents, sleeping baggage, and Kelty backpacks that can be utilized over the weekends, throughout spring break, and for school-affiliated subject journeys. Principally, the gear is used for school-related in a single day tenting journeys, however college students can test it out on their very own with parental permission.

“They keep comparatively clear, however we nonetheless want to make use of the washing machines periodically, and we have to air out the smoke-scented tents upon return,” says media coordinator Stuart Annand.

Video Recreation Consoles

The College of Wisconsin-Madison’s video consoles for mortgage

A preferred program on the School Library on the College of Wisconsin-Madison lets patrons reserve and checkout recreation consoles for 3 days. Gadgets embrace the Xbox 360, Xbox One S, Ps three, Ps four, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, and a Nintendo Swap. Patrons reserve on-line and decide up and return the consoles on the assist desk. They’re not renewable; late returns end in a every day $20 high-quality. “There have been only a few points,” says know-how operations specialist Crague Prepare dinner, besides that most individuals desire a longer checkout time.

Blood Stress Monitoring Kits

A circulating blood strain monitoring package

The MRCPL additionally provide digital Blood Stress Monitoring Kits, additionally sponsored by Richmond Public Well being and can be found to patrons 18 and older.

The kits are loaned for 2 weeks and should be checked out and returned in individual; they’re topic to a every day overdue high-quality. The kits needs to be saved in a temperature managed atmosphere (not a automotive). Deputy director Mary Frankenfield says that the most typical downside they encounter with lending the kits is getting all of the items again. “Now we have needed to buy a few alternative items, however not so many.”

Musical Devices

Musical objects at New Jersey’s Library of Chathams

Impressed by the makerspace motion (and a former assistant director who can be a  musician), the Library of the Chathams in Chatham, NJ, began lending musical devices in September 2015. Funding by the Pals of the Library of the Chathams bought an acoustic guitar, ukulele, trumpet, flute, and a full-size 88-key keyboard, with plans to purchase a smaller keyboard. Checkout is for 2 weeks, with a contents listing noting alternative costs. Gadgets such because the flute and trumpet embrace a cleansing package. Devices could be reserved upfront and aren’t accessible by way of inter-library mortgage. The one injury thus far was damaged guitar strings, which a patron changed. The library additionally loans telescopes, a FitBit, and Google Cardboard glasses.

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