Melody Kramer

17 Awesome Things You Can Take Out of Libraries

13 Jan 2015 by melodyjoykramer

I love libraries. I received my first library card on my 4th birthday, because you had to be four years old in Cherry Hill, NJ in order to get a library card. Since then, I’ve had library cards at Penn and Temple, and in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington D.C. I’m a strong advocate (and patron) of their programming and their commitment to the public.

Today I learned that DC library card holders can watch 2,300 videos and have access to 800 Safari Books online. (h/t the @hearmecode listserv.) And then I remembered that Chicago‘s library allowed patrons to take out museum passes and fishing rods.

Which led me to this list of all sorts of things you can check out at Chicago area libraries. Sculptures! American Girl Dolls! Animal Puppets.

So I decided to see what else was out there. It turns out, you can take out a lot of stuff from libraries. Know about something else? Let me know!

The Minnesota Lending Art Library lets Twin Cities residents take out original works of art for two months. (You can also do this in Iowa, Ann Arbor, and Pittsburgh)

You can check out energy meters in Leadville, Colorado.

In Toronto, you can check out people at a human library.

In** Chicago and New York City**, you can take out THE INTERNET. h/t @civicwhitaker

In Ann Arbor, you can also take out a book club in a box. That’s multiple copies of a book, the film version if it exists, and questions to ask a group of friends.  (This also exists at the Edwardsville Public Library in Illinois h/t Sue Diaz.

Ann Arbor, not to harp, also lets you check out this strange instrument h/t @internetmelanie.)

Tuscon, AZ’s libraries lend out seeds (They note there are no due dates.)

Speaking of instruments, you can borrow a set of bongos or a ukelele in Northampton, Mass. h/t Becky Sweger.

In Berkeley, you can take out saws, drills and other power tools. h/t Cian Dawson. (Oakland has this too.)

In St. Joseph CountyIndiana, people can check out a variety of board games.

Need a button maker? Head to Reno. 

These are smart ideas. I think libraries realize that in order to stay relevant, they have to diversify their programming and find ways to bring people who may never check out books into their spaces. I’m looking at libraries and thinking about libraries a great deal as I think about building community across the public media landscape. How can stations utilize their space and their assets to connect with members of their communities and in return, make those community members fierce advocates for the stations?

To the library!




Leave a comment
Fix my typos