The Rise of the Library of Things Collections
Traditionally, libraries have centered around books as the main materials in their collections. Lately, libraries have been branching outside of printed materials to include diverse types of materials and media to pertain to users’ changing information needs. Listed below are a few examples of materials that can be found in a library of things collection.
Board games, especially those for adults, have risen in popularity recently. I’ve seen many more stores that sell board games, and even board game cafes where visitors can rest with games to play with others. A few of the most popular board games at my local library are Azul, a strategy puzzle game, Animal Upon Animal, an animal stacking game for players ages four and up, and Ticket to Ride, a train adventure game.
Cookware, like specialty cake pans take up space and can be costly and not worth purchasing if they will only be used for an occasional event. Libraries are adding cookware such as bundt pans, cake pans in animal or number shapes, and springform pans for patrons to check out and use for their cooking and baking needs.
Craft Materials and Personal Interest
Have you ever wanted an item for an event or had an idea for a craft but didn’t have the materials to make it? Some libraries include items like button makers, sound machines, and bubble machines for patrons to check out. It’s useful to have these items because someone may be looking for an item for temporary use and borrowing it from the library eliminates the cost of buying the materials.
With the rise of discussion of STEM topics in school, it’s appropriate for libraries to be incorporating STEM resources into their collections as well. STEM kits are materials used for learning on specific topics. For example a STEM kit can be made for the topic of magnets, weather, rocks and minerals, and patterns. Each kit includes objects and materials for hands-on learning about the subject.
Eliminating cost factors of desired materials for library patrons is an important responsibility libraries have for supporting their community of information seekers. With libraries focused on social equity and humanitarian efforts, including diverse materials beyond the printed book to the library increases the value of the library collection. In the future, I believe the Library of Things collection can evolve to services like community closets, and programs such as cooking and STEM events that align with the materials in the collection.
Are there any items your local library offers that excite you?