What services libraries provide and how they function in their communities is constantly being reconsidered and redefined. One example of this is the trend of experimenting with building circulating collections of nonliterary “things”—such as tools, seeds, cooking equipment, bicycles, household machinery, and educational materials—by drawing on traditional library functions and strengths of acquisition, organization, and circulation. Audio Recorders to Zucchini Seeds: Building a Library of Things enables you to consider the feasibility of creating a specific type of “thing” collection in your library and get practical advice about the processes necessary to successfully launch and maintain it, from planning and funding to circulation, promotion, and upkeep.
This contributed volume provides a survey of “library of things” projects within the United States, from both public and academic libraries, offering real-world lessons learned from these early experiments with nontraditional collections. The authors offer practical insights from their projects, from the development of their initial ideas to the everyday realities of maintaining and circulating these collections, including cataloging, space needs, safety concerns, staff training, circulation, marketing, and assessment. The contributed chapters are organized thematically, covering “things” collections that encompass a wide variety of objects first, followed by collections with a community-building focus (seeds, recreation, tools) and those that serve an educational purpose, such as curriculum centers, children’s toys, or collections that support a university curriculum. The last section addresses collections that support media production.
- Documents the plan and launch phases of nontraditional collections that will help readers who are entertaining the idea of starting their own "things" project
- Explains how these collections support the mission of a library: supporting teaching, serving a unique population (such as small liberal arts colleges), and providing for a community need
- Spotlights some of the most frequently cited nontraditional collections, including the Tool Lending Library at Berkeley Public, the Library of Things at Sacramento Public, and the unique holdings of Alaska Resources Library and Information Services (ARLIS)
- Presents contributions from both public and academic librarians, representing libraries ranging from the small to the very large