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A Library of Things at Sacramento Public Library

February 3, 2015

Sacramento Public Library has a “Library of Things.” Items are selected and added based on patron input, which I think is key for a library like this. It’s not the first library to check out things other than books – we’ve all seen the articles about libraries circulating fishing rods, baking pans, and tools.

What I love about this innovation from Sacramento is the idea of libraries as places to learn skills and make things. R. David Lankes talks about libraries fostering the creation of knowledge, and not all knowledge can be created by using a traditional library resource (e.g. books, magazines, databases, A/V).

I hope that, as we progress into this particular niche of librarianship where we expand our view of “resources” to include more than just the “how” to do something, but also the means to do it, more and more libraries expand their makerspaces and other offerings to include things other than the shiniest newest gadget. Things like sewing machines and food dehydrators.

Of course, the key is listening to the patrons. The fact that Sacramento is asking their population what they want rather than just guessing is awesome – and something that, unfortunately, too many people forget when they look at cool programs like this. There has to be an interest or a need. If there is, then if you build it, they will come.

Rock on, Sacramento!

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