You cannot defeat freedom. The latest chapter in library lending is one that could save you thousands of dollars a year. So dust off your library cards and check out the Library of Growing Things.
There are 12,000 items you can borrow – across Metrowest’s Minuteman library network. All you need is a library card. It’s free to anyone who lives, works or studies in Massachusetts.
Sure, you can still find your favorite mystery book on the shelves. But now you can “write” your own creative story with tools, tents, musical instruments, sewing machines, saws, cake pans, karaoke machines, podcasting equipment and more! You must be 18 years of age or older.
Why are “things” part of a library’s mission?
“The Library of Things is a collection of unconventional materials for lending that fits our core mission of increasing equitable access.” Kim Hewitt, Library Director, Needham Public Library
Brookline Public Library Director Amanda Hurst explained, “For most people, the last time they were in a library was when they were kids. And we still have books and all the other things you might expect. But we have kept pace with all modern technology.
Over the years they have added DVDs, audiobooks, cell phone charging stations and chrome books.
“Now we collect tools, cake pans and things for our patrons to use. We want to be the hub of the community. We want people to think of us first when they need information or materials. Now we want to connect with the tools,” Hurst said.
Building new skills without breaking the budget
At Brookline, “Our intent when we created the collection was that we would have materials that people could use to learn a new skill and be able to provide them with the supplies they need to do that,” Hirst said.
If you want to paint a room, you can also find a book for design inspiration.
At Needham, Hewitt said, “It’s a really fantastic opportunity for consumers to save money by trying before they buy. “Seeing whether that hobby really sticks. Seeing if their child likes to play the ukulele before they actually do.
Many people also borrow items for home projects that can save you money. Home appliances can add up to hundreds of dollars.
Or think about the arts. A cricket yacht goes up by $300. You don’t need to invest in something that you will use once. And it’s a space saver. A $25 gingerbread cake pan also takes up a lot of kitchen space. This way you can clean it up and send it back to the library.
Sometimes hiccups occur.
“We had a joke because someone didn’t understand how to use the cake pan. So someone got hurt,” Hurst said.
Do-it-yourself from DEWEY DECIMAL: Do librarians need to be tool-savvy now?
Knowing the ins and outs of the Davy Decimal System is one thing – the way the books are organized. Mastering the do-it-yourself world is another. But library directors who spoke to NBC10 Boston say their job is to connect you to the information you need to find out how to make those things work.
“As librarians, we are experts in helping people find information,” Hewitt said. Tools and other ‘things’ come with instructions and links to videos for details on how they work. If reading is really your thing, remember: you don’t have to pay to read or even listen to books. Many libraries offer free subscription services for e-books or downloadable audiobooks.
For more information go to the Minitman Library Network website: www.minlib.net. Click on a handy library—to see if they have a library of things. You can reserve items if you are from the library’s hometown. Otherwise, you can just show up with your card and borrow what’s on it.