Library offers adventure items to explore Wyoming

The Campbell County Public Library has a "collection of things" library such as Go Pro cameras to loan to patrons.

Those still hoping to get out and travel this summer can find helpful items for checkout at the public library.

Although known for books, DVDs and CDs, the library also offers a “Library of Things,” as Elizabeth Albin calls it. The circulation manager at the public library said the collection is filled with items that are somewhat atypical of normal library circulation — like a GoPro, telescope and stargazing kit and state park backpacks.

The items can be checked out throughout the year but summer offers a prime time to capitalize on the kits and packs that may be more useful in warmer weather. Albin said that so far this summer, the adventure starter kits have been popular.

The state park backpacks are a two-week checkout and include a day pass to any Wyoming State Park. Albin noted it’s not a get-in-free card for national parks like Yellowstone or Devils Tower but areas like Keyhole State Park, Curt Gowdy in Laramie and Glendo are a go. The packs also include binoculars and a compass, pocket guides, specimen jars, a weather guide, magnifying glass and tree and flower guides.

Since the partnership began with the Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails in 2017, Albin said the backpacks have been checked out from the Campbell County Public Library 114 times and the Wright Branch Library 24 times, as of Friday.

“Since they really only get used in the summer, for three months of usage, that’s pretty good,” she said of the circulation.

The local public library has seven packs on hand, while the Wright branch has two available.

Albin said the collection also includes topographical maps for hikers or hunters — often popular in the fall — a portable Bluetooth speaker, a bird watching kit with high-end binoculars and a stargazing kit complete with a telescope.

The telescope has been checked out 21 times since 2021 and Albin said it was a hit when another planet rotated its way closer to Earth.

Some items aren’t built for outdoor adventures but are interesting all the same.

The Wright library offers a collection of cake pans, available for anyone who wants to try their hand at a new dessert without paying upfront costs for the new merchandise. And those visiting the Gillette library can also check out vinyls, a Cricut craft machine and even a light box that can be used to snag professional-looking photos of goods to sell online.

Employees are now working on getting a ring light, popular on many social media platforms, ready for checkout, Albin said.

She encouraged community members to take a look at the unconventional collection and also offer feedback for what may be missing.

“We’re always trying to bolster our ‘library of things,’” she said. “If anyone has suggestions of things they’d want added, we’d love to hear them.”