Archive for the Beyond Books Category

Top toys & games offered by libraries

toys2

Image credit: Denver Public Library

Looking to expand your entertainment options? Check out some of our favorite toys and games offered by libraries across the country:

What toys or games does your library offer? Share a story or two with us on Twitter.

Note: This post is part of our “Beyond Books” series. From time to time, we’ll be sharing examples of unique lending programs, events, and outreach that libraries are offering.

Top 3 animals and people you can check out at libraries

cooper

Image credit: Harvard Library

Did you know that some libraries loan – or provide access to – animals and people, for the general well-being of their patrons? Students at Harvard, Yale, and Emory can de-stress and momentarily escape the rigors of academic life by checking out a library therapy dog. At Harvard Library, for instance, students can borrow Cooper, a tiny six-year-old Shih Tzu, for 30 minutes at a time. Meanwhile, several public libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada, such as the San Francisco Public Library, have professional social workers and/or outreach workers on staff to provide patrons with information about emergency services (e.g., food, housing), family matters, and immigration. Finally, “human library” programs – offered at places like the Santa Monica Public Library and the Bainbridge Island Public Library – allow patrons to converse, one-on-one, with others who have had unique life experiences. Pioneered in Denmark, human library programs aim to expose patrons to alternative perspectives – thereby increasing their understanding – and produce a sense of common ground. Find out more about these unique programs by following these links:

1.)    Therapy dogs:

Cooper, the Shih Tzu – Harvard Library, Harvard University

Monty, the border terrier mix – Yale University Library, Yale

Multiple therapy dogs – Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University

2.)    Professionals (discussed in Multnomah County Public Library’s report, Homelessness, Human Services, and Libraries):

Social worker – San Francisco Public Library

Outreach/social workers – Edmonton Public Library

Outreach worker – Sacramento Public Library

Public health nurses  – Pima County Public Library

3.)    People to converse with, who have had unique life experiences, via “human library” programs:

Santa Monica Public Library

Bainbridge Island Library

Does your library loan animals and/or humans? Let us know by chatting with us on Twitter.

Note: This post is part of our “Beyond Books” series. From time to time, we’ll be sharing examples of unique lending programs, events, and outreach that libraries are offering.

Top 5 interactive kits loaned by libraries

beyondbooks_interactivekits_Dec13

Image credit: Arapahoe Library District

According to Pew Internet & American Life Project’s newest study, How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities, 4 out of 5 Americans 16 and older think books and media are important services offered by libraries. So what kinds of things are included in that “media” category? At libraries across the country, interactive kits are one form of media that encourages creativity, learning, and storytelling. Here are some examples of interactive kits and libraries that lend them:

  1. BiFolkal Kits – Arapahoe Library District (Colorado): BiFolkal Kits include slides, music, visual images, and other objects to inspire storytelling and remembrances.
  2. Book Club Kits – Madison Public Library (Wisconsin): Book Club Kits make book clubs easier with ready-to-go discussion questions, author information, and at least 8 copies of the same book in each kit. Boone County Public Library District (Kentucky) offers Digital Book Club Kits, which provide books in multiple e-book formats (for Kindle, iThing, Nook, etc.) as well as discussion questions.
  3. Stories to Go – Ann Arbor Library District (Michigan): Designed for parents, teachers, and caregivers, Stories to Go offers kid-friendly materials and activities focused on a single theme.
  4. Mystery Kits – Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (Kentucky) : Mystery Kits for elementary and middle-school kids include everything a group needs to set up and solve dastardly deeds only Snidely Whiplash could imagine.
  5. Super Science Kits – Kasson Public Library (Minnesota); Cubberley Education Library at Stanford Library (California):  Get STEM to go with Science Kits, which explore topics using tools, scientific supplies, and mini-experiments.

Does your library loan any of these items or other types of interactive kits? Let us know by by commenting on our Twitter feed.

Note: This post is part of our “Beyond Books” series. From time to time, we’ll be sharing examples of unique lending programs, events, and outreach that libraries are offering.

Top 4 portable electronics loaned by libraries

ereaders

Image Credit: Hooksett Library

In 2011, Time Magazine featured an online article that enthusiastically proclaimed loaner iPads as one of the “best freebies” ever offered by public libraries. Today, public libraries across the country continue to loan tablet and e-reader devices, as well as other portable electronics, like laptops, GPS units, and MP3 players. At the Hooksett Public Library in New Hampshire, for example, patrons aged 18 and older need only present their library card and a valid driver’s license to borrow an e-reader for two weeks. Closer to home, Jefferson County Public Library loans “JCPL 2 Go” devices, which are wireless tablets that contain eBooks and other digital information. This service was recently covered by 7 News, the ABC affiliate in Denver. And, patrons of all ages may check out laptops at the San Francisco Public Library, though they may not take them from the premises.  Here are some examples of libraries that lend portable electronics:

1. Laptops:

2. E-readers and tablets:

3. GPS units:

4. MP3 players:

Does your library loan any of these items or other types of portable electronics? Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter account.

Note: This post is part of our “Beyond Books” series. From time to time, we’ll be sharing examples of unique lending programs, events, and outreach that libraries are offering.

Top 5 Unique Tools Loaned by Libraries

leak_detector

Image credit: Ann Arbor District Library

1. Thermal leak detector – Ann Arbor District Library (Michigan)

2. Table saw – Berkeley Public Library (California)

3. Hedge shears – Fletcher Free Library (Vermont)

4. Wood carving tool set – Grosse Pointe Public Library (Michigan)

5. Energy meter – Jefferson County Public Library (Colorado)

Libraries have been getting some national love recently! NPR’s Keys To The Whole World: American Public Libraries series, an NBC Nightly News piece on unique lending items, not to mention the newly opened BiblioTech digital public library in San Antonio—it’s always refreshing to see libraries talked about in a positive way, especially by those outside Library Land. To highlight some of the amazing services libraries are providing beyond what’s traditionally been expected of them, we’re introducing a new feature called “Beyond Books.” From time to time, we’ll be sharing examples of unique lending programs, events, and outreach that libraries are offering, and we’ll be asking for your input, too! Share your library’s stories with us, and tell us what we’ve missed.

First up? Tools. Of course this is not a new service for libraries to provide, but one that’s been reinvigorated thanks to unique community needs and savvy librarians who know how to respond. What’s the most popular tool lent at your library?

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