All the Things You Can Get at a Library in Delaware

"Libraries of Things" have been appearing in libraries all over Delaware. The newest launch comes from the Newark Free Library in New Castle County. With the help of grant funding, the library was able to develop its own Library of Things and stock it with essential items that patrons need.

Library of Things has become popular in libraries across the country. Librarians and library staff have recognized the need to loan basic household tools, equipment, instruments, and other miscellaneous items in the community. A Library of Things is very useful in these cases because it allows community members shared access to items they may have a short-term need for, items they can't afford on their own, or items they can explore before making their own personal purchase.  

The process works similarly to checking out books. Patrons can use their library cards to borrow items for a set period of time, usually around three weeks, and are expected to return the items at the due date. Experience in other libraries has shown that items that are borrowed are well taken care of by patrons and returned in good condition, ready for the next borrower to use. 

Newark Free Library’s Library of Things

Thanks to a grant from the 5th District Councilwoman, Lisa Diller, the Newark Free Library is officially opening their own Library of Things that lends a variety of items to patrons that either can’t afford them, want to test them out, or will only be used once. The $2,500 grant enabled the staff at Newark Free Library to purchase items including a microscope, moisture meter, a keyboard, and audiovisual equipment, among many other items. 

The library hopes to attract new and long-time patrons as libraries reopen while also implementing an innovative way to serve community needs and encourage exploration and creation. There are a lot of opportunities with the opening of the Library of Things, including the ability to benefit underserved communities. 

Additional Things for Borrow

Last spring, the Delaware Library Consortium launched a lending program for patrons to borrow WiFi hotspots and Chromebooks for virtual learning or work-from-home needs. This service is essential in helping people who aren’t able to use the internet at home to learn or work. 

With libraries having varying schedules due to the pandemic, libraries within the Delaware Library Consortium also provided other innovative solutions for patrons that needed the internet. Public libraries added Parking Lot WiFi for members of the community without reliable internet to park their cars in the lots and access the internet without worrying about breaking social distancing guidelines. 

Delaware Libraries Across the State Are Building Their Library of Things Collections

The Newark Free Library is not the only library within the Delaware Libraries that has a Library of Things in place. Residents in the area have the option to visit any library within the library system to find games, equipment, and useful materials. Just a few technology examples include blood pressure cuffs and different types of robots that can be used to learn about coding while playing. These can easily be borrowed with a library card and then returned to the same library where the item was found. 

Setting up a Library of Things is not only useful to community members, but it is also becoming a practical step that many libraries are choosing to take. It provides for communities and also gives patrons an easy and free way to try new things and explore. With these kinds of innovative library resources, Delawarians truly benefit from their library cards. 

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