Unusual Things You Can Borrow from A Library of Things
The library of things is an initiative in local communities which lends objects instead of books from a conventional library. Depending on who you ask about the unique Library of Things initiative, you’ll get different answers about its origins. Some will say it started around a decade ago in Sacramento California, and others will say it started in 1800s Braddock, Pennsylvania in a Pittsburgh library that featured a boxing ring, eight billiard tables, a swimming pool, a bowling alley, a games room, and an auditorium with more than 900 seats.
Whoever you ask can’t deny that the initiative has attracted significant attention over the last few years. More than half of America’s 9,000 public library districts now lend non-traditional objects, with many objects promoting active healthy lifestyles.
This beyond-books trend has contributed to public libraries transforming themselves from public spaces to public places. Libraries are no longer defined by the traditional loan and return system of books, e-books, and journals as over the years libraries have been expanding what they offer to local and wider communities.
Here are some of the unusual things you can borrow from your public library!
5 Unusual Things You Can Borrow
The Forbes Library in Massachusetts offers several different kinds of musical instruments, including the banjo and dulcimer. By loaning musical instruments patrons can practice or pick up a musical instrument as a new hobby, free of financial worries. The Ann Arbor Library District of Michigan also offers ukeleles and an unusual theremin known as the otamatone which also doubles up as a keyboard.
Museum and Park Passes
Perfect for the summer months and school vacations, your public library could potentially have day passes to the local museums and parks in your neighborhood! The Chicago Public Library gives out passes to 17 different museums, and the Fairfield Public Library in Connecticut has day passes for every single day of the week for more than 40 different museums and attractions including Beardsley Zoo, The Discovery Planetarium, and the Connecticut Science Centre.
Sports Equipment and Hiking Gear
Some libraries promote healthy lifestyles through the items they have on loan. For example, Fontana Regional Library in North Carolina has sports equipment and hiking gear available for check-out thanks to a partnership with the Franklin Appalachian Trail Community Council. The partnership saw ten hiking backpacks, stocked full of basic day hiking supplies, donated to the library for those interested in day hikes around Franklin and Macon County.
Seattle Library and Puyallup Library also work closely with the Washington Trails Association Gear Lending Library, acting as pick-up locations for hiking jackets, rain pants, hiking boots, and sleeping bags for outdoor adventures.
A fast-growing loan collection at the library is seed libraries, which are collections of seeds that patrons can check out and in return bring back additional seeds when the growing and harvest season is over.
Seed libraries, most notably picked up by the Pima County Public Library in Arizona are designed to encourage communities to experience the joys of gardening and educate people about growing, harvesting, and saving seeds. Patrons can browse seeds in person at the library and search for seeds using the online catalog and reserve them for pick up.
Board Games and Other Toys
Did you know the world’s oldest board game dates back to over 3000 BC! Board games have been popular with all ages for thousands of years, so why shouldn’t you be able to pick one up at your local library?
Today, the world’s largest board game library can be found in Washington. Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) is the home of a loanable collection of over 2,000 games, which, according to the WCCLS, is the biggest of any U.S. public library system and maybe even the world!
Enabling a SMART Library of Things
Of course, all of these items require a process for loaning and vending items out to patrons. D-Tech International offers a secure, stylish, and state-of-the-art SMART locker which assures that your patrons can safely and securely pick up reserved items.
Featuring intelligent access options, including RFID capabilities, the SMART locker provides increased security compared to traditional storage solutions, delivering an ideal environment for secure asset management.
As innovators of library technology for over 20 years, D-Tech International is always operating at the cutting-edge to develop the next generation of enhancements – speak to one of our experienced and friendly team to find out how new technologies could transform your patron experience.