A library is many things to many people. For some of us it’s the books, the actual, physical books that have crisp pages and the sound of a new spine being opened. For others, it’s the calm respite of the reading rooms, where one can catch up on the news with the various subscriptions to newspapers and magazines. For others, it’s the 24/7/365 availability of Libby and the Kindle books we can check out and read anytime. For still others, it’s the place to meet for storytime and make some new friends while listening to a favorite book. The library also holds classes, has book clubs, allows community groups to use their meeting rooms, sponsors plays and concerts, and gives space for blood drives and vaccination clinics. The library is a vibrant, thriving member of the community that enriches the lives of residents every day.
But the library has secrets too. One of these secret resources is called the “Library of Things”. What is a Library of Things, you may ask. Well, we got a tour of this library inside the library and talked with Jessica Jones about how it came to be and what you’ll find inside.
Having a Library of Things became somewhat of a trend over the last decade or so. Librarians were recognizing a need among patrons for sustainable options, rather than single use items in daily life. Who among us hasn’t purchased a school bus cake pan and only used it for their child’s third birthday and never used it again? Okay, just us? But it really evolved out of needs like that for cake pans or cookie cutters or garden tools. Single or rarely used items that are often difficult and bulky to store, but still helpful for patrons.
In addition to the aforementioned cake pans, cookie cutters, and garden tools, the Boulder City Library also has a trove of board games, yard games (think giant checkers!!!), STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) kits, GPS units, code reader for vehicles, etc. There are so many wonderful things to do as a family, or to just help patrons with routine tasks like auto repairs.
The Library of Things here was started with a grant from the Nevada State Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The government agency has four strategic goals:
- Champion Lifelong Learning: Museums, libraries, and archives are unparalleled sources of educational, information, health, job, and cultural resources. IMLS supports these institutions’ work to open themselves up to all community members and visitors, bridging the gaps of distance, resources, or experience.
- Strengthen Community Engagement: Museums, libraries, and archives can connect community members to develop or enhance a collective sense of place where everyone can feel respected and included. IMLS enables these institutions and their partners to foster dialogue that addresses and incorporates diverse community needs and experiences.
- Advance Collections Stewardship and Access: Museums and libraries are responsible for preserving, managing, and providing the broadest possible access to the cultural, artistic, historical, natural, and scientific collections entrusted to their care.
- Demonstrate Excellence in Public Service: IMLS recognizes the importance of reflective practice and continual improvement in our commitment to the agency’s mission to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations.
The Library of Things does meet all of those strategic goals for our community. Library staff continually look for new and improved ways to connect to the community. Coming soon are senior memory kits for seasoned citizens to check out and use to improve memory skills and retention. STEAM and robotic kits for younger patrons are constantly being replenished and added to so that there’s always something new to investigate and try.
The Library of Things has been very popular with local teachers, homeschooling families, and programs like Little Lambs preschool. They are available to anyone with a Boulder City Library or Las Vegas-Clark County Library District card in good standing, You can read more about the program HERE. The collections are not searchable online, but you can contact the library staff at (702) 293-1281 to find out if the item you need is something they have in the collection.
The Boulder City Library is opened Monday thru Thursday from 10:00AM to 8:00PM, and Friday thru Sunday from 10:00AM to 5:00PM. The library is located at 701 Adams Boulevard at ABC Park. Their website can be found HERE. Be sure to stop by and check out the Library of Things on your next trip to the Boulder City Library