Libraries are so much more than a building full of books these days. Yes, if you walk into a library you will still find books, but you will also find computers, 3D printers, movies, craft kits, and gaming consoles. Libraries become community hubs, career services, tech support, research centers, and creative spaces all rolled into one. Library staff are always searching for the newest way to help strengthen their community and better their patrons’ lives. Here are just some of the creative and surprising ways our library partners have tried to do just that.
Canine Reading Programs
Reading aloud can be nerve-wracking. At some libraries, like Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, kids that are learning to improve their reading confidence and strengthen their reading skills can practice reading aloud to dogs through canine reading programs. Isn’t everything better with a furry friend by your side?
Who doesn’t love finding clues and solving brain-twisting puzzles? Escape rooms have been exploding in popularity in the US over the last five years, but they aren’t exactly cheap. A family of four typically spends $120 for a one-hour game. Luckily, libraries like Cape May County Library in New Jersey create their own escape room events for families that want to argue over hidden messages and secret codes without breaking the bank.
Museum Pass Rentals
A tight budget shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying a day at the zoo with their family or learning fun facts at the science museum. Fortunately, libraries like Ridley Township Public Library in Pennsylvania allow patrons to borrow passes to zoos, museums, arboretums, gardens, and more!
Not only does Hillsborough County Public Library in Florida loan out Ukulele Kits, but in partnership with The Tampa Bay Ukulele Society, they also host strum and sing sessions. Programs like these are great for those interested in learning a new instrument but are hesitant to buy before they try. After all, instruments aren’t cheap!
Some people have a green thumb, and if that person is into growing vegetables, they can end up with way more than they bargained for. Sno-Isle Libraries in Washington host a weekly produce swap for exactly that reason. Residents that are up to their ears in a certain vegetable can swap another resident going through the same (delicious) struggle. A win-win for everyone!
Some libraries, like Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio, offer free access to recording studio spaces. Patrons can utilize a variety of equipment from soundproof booths to editing software to create their very own podcasts, music, and green screen videos.
YouTube has made it easier than ever for average Joe’s around the world to accomplish their own at-home repairs. Unfortunately, home projects can require specialized tools and not everyone has the space to store larger tools or the money to purchase a circular saw. However, some local libraries like Dee Brown Library in Arkansas loan tools out to card holding patrons. They are nailing it!
With programs like these, everyone can learn something new and save money doing it. Go, libraries! What is a unique service or program that your local library provides?