Benbrook Library / Library services

Beyond Books: Introducing the Library of Things

When the majority of people hear “library,” they think about books. Maybe a specific library springs to mind, like the ghost-occupied one in Ghostbusters that freaked me out as a child (it’s sort of amazing I ended up voluntarily working in this field), or the one in Pawnee that Leslie Knope will tell you is the home of the worst group of people ever assembled, but you’re still almost certainly picturing a book-filled place. And that’s fair; we’ve got a lot of those. Thousands of ‘em. But, as we’ve demonstrated before with our checkoutable technology, we ain’t your father’s, Dan Ackroyd’s, or Dan Ackroyd’s father’s library; we’re more than books.

Linens ‘n’ Things had the right idea, at least until they went out of business in 2009 and it became fair to question the rightness of their ideas: Flat out tell people you’re more than the thing you obviously are. “We’ve got linens, no question,” they (seemed to have) said. “But you’d better believe we’ve got more than that, buddy boy” (Linens ‘n’ Things was kind of sassy). “Gee, what else ya got, Mr. L?” you would ask. “Oh, we’ve got…things.” It was brilliant. They could sell literally anything else and it would fit under that vague umbrella. You didn’t know exactly what to expect, but you made room in your expectations for decidedly non-linen-y things.

And so, we’re taking a cue from the visionaries at Linens ‘n’ Things. No, we’re not renaming ourselves “Books ‘n’ Things,” or even “Library ‘n’ Things.” But what we have concocted is a Library of Things. What does that mean? As with our fabricy forefathers, it could mean anything, but more specifically, it’s a collection of kits of items that facilitate a variety of educational, recreational, and practical activities. In other words, they’re kits that facilitate doing all kinds of things. Wanna learn something new, like how to play the ukulele? The Library of Things (LoT) has a kit containing a uke, accessories, and books that can teach you chords and give you tips on how to play. Wanna develop your green thumb but don’t have the tools or know how? The LoT has a gardening kit with tools and instructional books. Wanna gaze at the stars? The LoT has a telescope. Need to fix something around the house? The LoT has a tool kit. Thinking of starting a podcast? The LoT has a USB microphone you can use to record high-quality audio. Wanna play a game outside? The LoT has a ladder toss game and a soccer kit that comes with a ball, cones, and popup goals. Wanna play a game inside? The LoT has mini versions of the NES, Sega Genesis, and PlayStation consoles that are preloaded with classic games.

Here’s a full list of what’s currently available in the Library of Things:

-Action Camera Kit (it’s like a GoPro)

-Chess Kit

-Crochet Kit

-Gardening Kit

-Knitting Kit

-Ladder Toss Kit

-NES Classic Kit

-PlayStation Classic Kit

-Poker & Blackjack Kit

-Projector Kit

-Record Player Kit (can also be used as a Bluetooth speaker)

-Sega Genesis Mini Kit

-Soccer Kit

-Telescope Kit

-Tool Kit

-Ukulele Kit

-USB Microphone Kit

-Yoga Kit

Even more LoT kits are in the works and will be available soon. To see a list of available kits featuring images and contents lists, click here. To get your hands on one and get to doing things, place a request for your kit of choice by using the links on the page linked to in the previous sentence, or call us at 817-249-6632.

Library of Things kits are available to Benbrook Public Library cardholders ages 18 and up and may be borrowed for a three-week checkout period. Kits are limited to one per borrower.

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