91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

This Michigan library moves beyond books, to Go-Pros, sewing machines, mobile hotspots

A few of the items you can check out at the Capital Area District Library's "Library of Things"
Screenshot from CADL.org
Just a few of the items you can check out at the Capital Area District Library's "Library of Things."

The Next Idea

We think of borrowing from a library and what comes to mind? Books. DVDs. CDs.

Now, through the Capital Area District Libraries in Lansing, you can check out a badminton set, a GoPro camera,  a thermal leak detector or even a sewing machine. Those are just some of the items that they have available in the CADL's Library of Things.

Jolee Hamlin, the senior associate director of public service at Lansing's Capitol Area District Librariesis overseeing the collection and she joined Stateside to talk about the criteria that they used choosing the items in the Library of Things.

"Is it sort of a high cost item for a person or family to buy? If it is, that was something that may be of interest to us because we wanted to appeal to the idea that 'yeah, maybe I want a sewing machine, maybe I either want one but I'm not positive and that's going to cost me a few hundred dollars, or maybe I could just use it one time. I could use it for a couple weeks and do a project,'" Hamlin said. "If it hit that sweet spot of something that ... might be a stretch for someone to buy but that it also was a good fit for a one-time use, that had some appeal to us."

According to Hamlin, they aren't the only library who are offering "things" to borrow to the community (Ann Arbor District Library also has "Unusual Stuff to Borrow"). Different libraries have different approaches when it comes to the offerings that they have. The CADL chose to make more STEM-based items available.

Listen to the full interview to hear about what "outside the box" items are the most popular and what advice she has for other libraries looking to start their own Library of Things. 

The Next Idea is Michigan Radio's project devoted to new innovations and ideas that will change our state.

Join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook, or let us know your Next Idea here.

(Subscribe to The Next Idea podcast on iTunes, or with this RSS link)

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
Related Content