Don’t want to buy? You can also borrow household items
Amanda Blum enjoys trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, but like many home cooks, she is hesitant to buy expensive and bulky kitchen appliances.
So she was excited to learn more about Kitchen Share, a nonprofit near her home in Portland, Oregon that lends kitchen equipment. Bloom, who likes to store fruits and vegetables this time of year, has found a branded pressure cooker here that makes the job easier and safer.
Since then, she’s become a regular borrower, checking out Kitchen Share’s blender, ice cream maker and pressure cooker.
“It’s such a huge resource,” she said. “It solves the problem of having to buy all of these things.”
Across the country, traditional libraries and a small number of nonprofit lending operations loan collections of household items: cake pans in Akron, Ohio; paintings in Minneapolis; telescopes in Saint-Louis; sewing machines in Rochester, New York.
For traditional libraries, these items are a natural extension of their mission to provide resources to the community. Many other institutions see loan programs as a way to help people save money or lead more sustainable lives with less.
As with books, “it’s the idea of collections that are bought by a group and used by several people over and over again,” said Jen Lenio, collections manager at the Rochester Public Library.
The Rochester Library System’s offerings are driven by customer interests, as well as a desire to help low-income people, she said. The success of the library craft classes inspired staff to create borrowable knitting and crochet kits. Recognizing that the ability to make or repair clothing could come in handy, the team purchased sewing machines for customers to view.
“We are trying to meet the needs of the community,” Lenio said.
The Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Cake Mold Loan Program was so popular that the institution decided to purchase kitchen utensils for circulation as well. The items – including measuring cups, kitchen scales and baking dishes – appeal to the area’s large student body and young clients who set up households, among others, said Monique Mason, director of the science division. and library technology.
The collection includes utensils that people rarely use, such as a cherry pitter, party candy molds and cookie cutters, and bulky items they may not have room for.
“When you look at the space taken up by a pasta machine or a food dehydrator, do you really want to have to store these items? »Said Mason.
The library treats the items like books, allowing people to reserve them online and send them to various branches for pickup, she said. Guests are responsible for making kitchen items clean and are encouraged to wash them before using them.
The St. Louis County Library in Missouri has a telescope loan program, which was suggested by the St. Louis Astronomical Society. It started in 2014 and was an “instant hit,” director Kristen Sorth said. “People seem very grateful for the opportunity and are treating them very well,” Sorth said.
The telescope loan aligns with the library’s interest in promoting science education, she said, by giving people access to cool equipment.
“I’ve done this a few times. I had one when I was a kid and I love seeing what I can see in the night sky,” said Craig Williams of St. Louis, who hopes to own one. day.
In the Twin Cities, the Minneapolis Art Lending Library, a nonprofit group, promotes the appreciation of art by loaning out original works that borrowers can hang on their walls at home.
Part of a library’s mission is to help patrons learn, and that doesn’t stop at books, says Christine Feldmann, spokesperson for the Anne Arundel County Public Library in Annapolis, Md., Who lends among other things fishing rods and ukuleles.
“The library is really about connecting people to resources,” she said. “These programs are just an extension of that.”