Here in Northeast Kansas we have masks, cake pans, mobile hotspots, laptops, and tools available for loan, but have a look at what some other library collections include (thanks to Reddit users for sharing information about their special collections):

  • Role Playing Game Kits: dice, tokens, laminated map paper and character sheets, and dry erase markers. It’s a great way for people to try RPGs without having to get all the books at once individually or spend hundreds of dollars.included a selection of pre-made character sheets for those who might find building a character too overwhelming to start.
  • It is Thanksgiving next week. We loan folding chairs.
  • We are right on a lake. So we also have fishing poles. And then we have kits you can borrow to catch, study, and identify different aquatic invertebrates.
  • In addition to that, we have a portable photo scanner and a digital voice recorder for people to borrow.
  • Joy For All robotic companion animals (among many other dementia-friendly tools people might want to try before investing).
  • We have a trailer people can borrow. They have to have their own hitch though!
  • We’re right by a toboggan hill so we lend them out.
  • Park passes.
  • We have a “library of things” with cake pans, a sewing machine, telescope, pasta maker, air fryer, DVD player, and even a grain mill you can use to grind your own flour.
  • Skeletons!
  • Guitar pedals and cake pans.
  • Scat kit complete with guidebook and actual examples to help you identify scat you find. Community is big on nature.
  • We’ve got a few pairs of EnChroma colorblind glasses.
  • Ukuleles and telescopes.
  • Our library’s most popular piece of equipment is a rock polisher. We supply the polishing grit, the patrons provide their own rocks.
  • Gardening tools! One of our library branches is inside a botanical garden. So they have shovels, rakes, trowels, work gloves, and even a half dozen wheelbarrows you can borrow for a couple weeks at a time.
  • We have small looms which I’ve always found oddly charming!
  • Bikes, bike locks, hotspots, sewing machines, seeds, chrome books, Go Pros, a hiking kit (backpack with binoculars,maps, first aid kit), themed literacy backpacks. Our patrons have access to discover and go, which provides passes to museums and such.
  • A ghost hunting kit. It is quite fun in a community where there are many homes from the 1700’s.
  • We back up to a nature preserve so we have an adventure backpack! It has a flora and fauna guide, a compass, binoculars, etc. It’s a lot of fun!
  • A library in Kansas has walkers, crutches, a potty chair and other items you might need after surgery.
  • Kill-a-Watt electricity meters — you plug various appliances into it to see how much is used by different things.
  • Bicycles: Adult and child, recumbent and hand-pedaled, a tandem, and child carriages to hook up to the adult bikes. We’re right along a major bike path and they circulate like hotcakes during nice days.
  • Also oversized yard games. Those are a hit in the warmer months.

Maybe one of the suggestions above would be a hit in your community! Trying something new? Please let us know how it goes.

Photo credit: Tools, by Dorli Photography, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)