Friday, July 13, 2012

The Library: Unexpected Checkouts and Services

Lately I’ve been taking notice of some unique services and lending materials that public libraries are providing. Many of these are a result of creativity and resourcefulness, some libraries are trying something new, and some are creating partnerships within their community.

Much of the public associates the library with books, however, the following list might take you “outside the box” of the library. I’ve listed a couple interesting services, checkouts, and partnerships:  

  1. Pedometers:  Interested in becoming an avid walker? Step tracking pedometers can be found at the Mississauga Library System in Southern Ontario. The Mississauga Library System, partnering with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is loaning out pedometers to their patrons. The small devices can be taken out for 6 weeks and renewed just like a book.
  2. Life Jackets: Missoula Public Library in Montana has teamed up with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to offer patrons life jackets within their main branch as well as at their farmer's market booth.  The goal is to create a safer summer boating and fishing season and provide quality life jackets for those who may be doing a one-off trip or for those who cannot afford their own.
  3. Downloadable Music: Edmonton Public Library is using the program Freegal to allow patrons access to download three songs a week.  These files are not temporary downloads, but they belong to the patron and never expire. They can be added to an iTunes library and downloaded to any mp3 playing device.
  4. Cake Pans: Celebrating a quirky and unique event?  Need a duck shaped cake pan for a baby shower or birthday which you will never use again? Try the library.  Cake pans are being loaned out by the Burlington Public Library in Colorado.  
  5. Passport Services: Planned that trip up north to Canada but need to get your passport renewed? Go to the Houston Public Library. In September 2011, the Houston Public Library in Texas joined the U.S. Department of State’s Houston Passport Agency to provide passport services for U.S. citizens.  The services include processing of documents as well as providing passport photo services.
 The possibilities are endless!

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