Seeds, cake tins and musical instruments are just some of the items available on loan from public libraries today. As these non-traditional library collections make their way into the media they are helping public libraries to reinforce their role at the heart of the community.
Seed Lending Library
The NSW Central Northern Regional Libraries has a Seed Library. It provides free seeds “on loan” to local residents, encouraging them to grow healthy food and providing them with greater access to fresh fruit and vegetables. People are encouraged to share excess seeds, seedlings and produce with their local community gardens, neighbours and services such as soup kitchens and refuges.
Community Gardens and Programming
Libraries are creating gardens and hosting garden programming. Many public libraries are connecting with community partners and transforming spaces to engage clients of all ages in growing library garden programs. The Inala Branch of the Brisbane City Council Libraries is running a Pizza garden for kids program over the summer school holidays. Children will learn to grow the herbs and vegies required for making pizza such as basil, onions, oregano, parsley and peppers.
The Caro Area District Library in Michigan, U.S. hosts a Seed Saving and Lending Library Program. The program includes a Home Grown Food Series with gardening classes, canning workshops and composting 101.
Cake Tin Library
As televised baking competitions take the world by storm, Charles County Public Library in the U.S. decided to launch a cake tin collection to help to reinvigorate membership at the library. A call out was made asking members of the community to donate cake tins which would become part of the library’s collection. Many clients commented on the fact that before the cake tin service they had not used the library since primary school.
Got a kid’s birthday coming up? Borrow a cake tin from the Griffith Library in NSW and impress your family, friends and party guests. Choose from over 30 different shapes including a 3D soccer ball, ladybird, pirate ship or teddy bear. Each cake tin comes complete with instructions and decorating tips.
Borrow a Musical Instrument
Forbes Library in the U.S. has musical instruments available for loan. Library card holders can borrow musical instruments. Instruments are available to adults and children in sixth grade or above and can be kept for three weeks. Instruments include banjos, a mountain dulcimer and an electronic keyboard.
The Barrie Public Library and Huronia Symphony Orchestra (HSO) in Ontario, Canada recently launched the Musical Instrument Lending Library. Library members are able to borrow musical instruments for free with their library card – guitars, bass guitars, violins, and keyboards. The lending library and associated programs will provide unprecedented access to musical education and opportunity for youth, access to needed instruments for musical groups, recording, performance and theatre, and for all other individuals that simply want a bit more music in their lives.