Wyoming Library of Things
Did you know that libraries are for more than books?
Many libraries in Wyoming also lend things such as DVDs, magazines, or computers for in-house use – but did you know about the toolkits? Backpacks filled with hiking gear and State Park Day passes? There’s so much more to discover! This phenomenon is also called a “library of things.” Libraries of Things (or LoTs, as they are sometimes called) can offer a wide range of items that people may need but don’t wish to purchase outright. For example, if you have a small sewing project but don’t wish to go out and buy a brand new sewing machine only for it to collect dust in your home - check out your local library!
Libraries of Things are important community resources that deliver incredible value to their local area. Many Libraries of Things offer their rentals at no additional cost to the renter, and can be used for skill building as well as recreation. Individuals can rent tools and other household equipment from the library at no additional cost in order to practice a trade, pick up a new hobby, or spend some time outdoors. This type of access to skill-building items could be life changing for individuals who are traditionally disadvantaged and would otherwise be unable to learn skills such as sewing or carpentry. Wyoming has several libraries that have a LoT location, so let’s check them out in greater detail.
The Jackson (Teton location) Library of Things has many different collections of items that can be borrowed at no additional cost. Their website currently lists five categories of LoT including: Crafts & Hobbies, Electronics/Tech Support items, Household tools & implements, Outdoor Recreational Equipment, and Items for in-library use only such as laptop computers, electronics chargers, headphones, and conference phones.
The Teton County library located in Jackson offers a book binding kit, sewing repair kit, calligraphy kit, crochet hooks, knitting needles, and quilt making kits as part of their Crafts & Hobbies LoT. Their collection fills an important niche in the American art landscape - and in education! Sewing and textile arts such as quilt making used to be much more popular, but as time has gone by, fewer and fewer young people are learning to sew, crochet, or quilt. This LoT gives individuals of any age the opportunity to pick up the lost art at no cost to them - and who knows, maybe they’ll be the next great American quilt maker?
The Jackson library also has several more items available for borrowing such as a Photo light box, commonly used for product photography, basic tool kits, garden tools, a laser level and stud finder, and a wildlife kit. Check out their website for a full list of their LoT items!
The Gillette (Cample location) has a robust Library of Things catalogue. One of the most unique LoT items that many outdoor lovers and families could be interested in is the Backpack Kit - which includes a State Park day-use entry pass to many WY parks. It also contains binoculars, a bug box, a compass, magnifying glasses, a pocket guide to local flora and fauna, and many other kinds of pocket guides! This LoT Backpack Kit will keep any intrepid explorer well-prepared for what’s out there. For patrons that don’t want to take a road trip to the state parks for the day, there’s another type of backpack kit as well - the bird watching & stargazing field guide kit! This backpack is loaded up with binoculars, a Gosky Digiscoping Adapter, and more.
The Campbell County library does charge a small fee for their technical equipment, but the cost of renting it can hardly be compared to the cost of purchasing the item outright. For example, a GoPro Camera is available for $5 with a renewal fee of $5 per day. Renting the item for a week would cost $30, whereas purchasing one would cost $300! The Natrona County library offers several audio/visual LoT items for no additional cost, such as easels, portable CD players, tripods, and screens. Their other LoT categories are also available at no extra cost, including 24 different kinds of baking pans, board games, cookie cutters, literary kits and more!
Natrona County has two library locations - one in Edgerton and one in Casper. Patrons can reserve from their Library of Things online and select their preferred location for pick up. While some items at the Natrona County LoT should never leave the buildings either at the Casper (Natrona location) or Edgerton (Natrona location) such as the Chromebooks, many other items can be checked out for at-home usage such as wireless mobile hot spots, video games, and tennis kits.
The Natrona County LoT also offers a State Park Backpack Kit that can be used to explore Wyoming’s historic state parks, sites, and trails. Their outdoor collection also consists of binoculars, and tennis kits for both adults and children.
Some of the audio/visual equipment that Natrona County holds in their LoT includes a portable projector, a ring light with a tripod stand, a DVD writer, a record player, as well as a DVD/VCR recorder and converter - perfect for transitioning all those home movies to DVD. Library staff can also help provide you with more information on how to then take those files from the DVD and place them into a cloud solution, so that you always have access to them.
Natrona County has many other ‘things’ available in their library - puzzles and busy boards for patrons with memory loss or developmental delays, sewing machines and die cutters for crafters, STEAM kits for children, and more.
A Library of Things is a good example of the sharing economy at work - people and communities prioritizing “access over ownership” to resources. Thanks to local libraries and LoT, individuals who otherwise would not have had access to such resources (or would have had to pay 10x the amount!) can access incredibly useful (if only occasionally) household items, tools, and more.