Want to try a new board game or keyboard? Need a tool or video camera one time only and don’t want to fork out the cash for it?
Newark Free Library’s new Library of Things will allow you to check out the things like that — and more — to try or use that single time.
Among other things, the Library of Things features home improvement and maintenance items that are only ever used once in a blue moon.
A drywall moisture meter, for example, is a tool often used by home remodelers and carpenters to determine if ventilation is faulty or a leak has occurred somewhere in the house. It’s rarely used more than once, if ever, by a homeowner.
Now instead of buying one and letting it sit in a toolbox, Delaware library card owners can check out one at the library, just like a book or DVD.
“Home tools are really aimed for patrons that may not be able to afford an item that’s like a one-time use sort of thing,” said Pam Stevens, a librarian at the Newark Free Library. “It really is an assistance to the community.”
Also on offer are instruments, board games and audio/visual equipment.
Items can be transferred to other libraries to be checked out, she said.
While the games have already become popular, Stevens believes that home tools and particularly a mid-size keyboard will be in high demand as more people find out about the Library of Things.
“I think that it has a wide appeal to different ages,” Stevens said. “Whether someone is just dabbling in music or wants to create a career in music, I think it’s something that is a tool that is not easily accessible and can propel one’s life towards goals they may have.”
Checking out a item from the Library of Things works much the same as checking out a book. Patrons can keep the item for up to three weeks.
When returned, the items are cleaned before going back on the shelves.
It an item is accidently broken by a patron, the library will approach the problem the same way they would a book. First, the library will try to fix the item. If it can’t be fixed and it’s an item of particularly high demand, they will replace it.
The library plans to begin a YouTube tutorial series explaining how to use some of the items available.
Stevens was one of the first to see the possibilities offered by a Library of Things.
“I was introduced to the idea while I was doing my master’s degree in information science,” she said. “This is something that has been going on around the country and becoming very popular and useful for the community. We wanted to implement that here in Newark and throughout New Castle County libraries.”
The borrowing program was funded by a $25,000 grant from Newark 5th District City Councilwoman Lisa Diller to the Friends of Newark Free Library.
Library staff used that cash to purchase the things available at the Library of Things.
The staff hopes the program will encourage current and new patrons to return to the library as it continues reopening while COVID-19 vaccinations continue to rise in the face of mounting new cases of the Delta variant.
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