The Mansfield-Richland County Public Library has been checking out more than books for years including videos, music CDs, audio books and hundreds of magazines.
But recently, since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the main library has been seen an increase in the number of patrons who borrow everything from various cake and muffin pans, power tools, sewing machines and telescopes, to musical instruments and more in the “Library of Things” program.
The “Library of Things” can be found in the media room on the second floor of the main library at 43 W. Third St.
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Librarian Allison Howell and library employee Kevin Kellenberger, who is studying to become a librarian at Kent State University, said patrons with library cards have been enjoying borrowing such items as WiFi hot spots, Rokus, vinyl records, Launch Pads (similar to preloaded Kindles) and more.
100 wi-fi hotspot devices available
“There’s 100 wi-fi hot spots (devices) and they’re always all checked out,” he said of the device enabling people to have internet access to their computers at home or to take on vacation.
Some items require a signed borrowers agreement, like power tools. Borrowers must be age 18 and older for some items such as tools and telescopes.
The library is also working to get microscopes, STEM interactive toys, Kellenberger said.
The list of items in the “Library of Things” includes giant, over-sized Connect Four and portable cornhole games.
There’s binoculars, cake pans including a Spider Man and Elmo, board games, jigsaw puzzles and more at the library to borrow.
Tools include an air compressor, leaf blower and more.
Howell said the tools and cake pans in particular are a great help to someone who is using them just for one time and don’t really want to purchase such items.
“There’s board games for all ages,” Howell said, including such favorites as Escape Room, Pandemic, Outfoxed and Trash Pandas, the latter a board game with raccoons in garbage cans, and traditional favorites such as Monopoly and Candy Land.
Musical instruments include acoustical, electrical and bass, a concert ukulele, and Kahlenberg “thumb piano.”
Borrow a telescope to see the night sky
There are bulky but not heavy to carry telescopes which the library has for borrowing in partnership with the Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation through the Richland County Foundation with the help of the Richland Astronomy Society.
Even bicycles can be borrowed for outdoor fun along the Richland B&O Trail, from the Lexington, Bellville and Lucas branch libraries. The bikes must be returned to the location from which they were borrowed.
Howell said, as an example, there’s a regular library patron, a 12-year-old girl, who borrows a lot of things including various cake pans.
Howell said the items can be put on hold at any location of the Mansfield-Richland County Public Library. Most items can be borrowed for 14 days but power tools only can be borrowed for a week.
Coming to the “Library of Things” in the next couple of months is digital equipment for VHS conversion which patterns can use on site at the library.
“We’re continuously adding more,” Howell said.
The library staff will be some of the items to display Saturday and Sunday at the Mansfield Noon Optimist Club’s Mid Ohio Home Show at 750 N. Home Road.
The library staff is also bringing the new book mobile to show the public.