Cake pans and board games are now on loan at the Easton Public Library. 

The library’s newest collection holds an assortment of items that go beyond the standard books and movies folks usually borrow. It’s called the Library of Things, and it can be found in the Family Fun Collection at the library.

Library Director Lynn Zaffino says the initial idea for this new kind of collection has continued to grow and gain momentum.

Cake pans in the Library of Things collection.– Photo courtesy of the Easton Public Library

“We started with our small collection of games and puzzles that we used when we’ve done game nights in the past. From there, I began purchasing games, puzzles, and cake pans at tag sales and flea markets. And some of the items were donated by myself and other staff members,” Zaffino said.

Zaffino and her colleagues’ decision to expand the library’s collection beyond the long established books and films is part of a broader national trend.

Folks in Greenville, Mississippi can borrow hoes, rakes and clippers from their local library, and the Forbes Library in Massachusetts has musical instruments for loan, including a ukulele and banjo drum. In Maine, where winters can be especially harsh, snow shoes, shovels and sleds are available for check out at the Readfield Community Library.

According to a Book Riot article by Cindy Butor – which includes a list of “weird things” people can borrow from their local libraries – many public libraries have been undergoing a significant change in this regard.

“Libraries are no longer defined by the physical space they occupy or the physical items they carry,” Butor writes. “Instead, they are defined by how they present themselves as a community place.”

Zaffino hopes local families and the entire Easton community will find the collection fun, useful and convenient.

“Residents can save money by not having to buy a specialty cake pan for something that they will make once a year,” Zaffino said. “It also gives people a chance to try new games to see if they like them before deciding to purchase them. And it’s fun to check out these items.”

The library also welcomes donated items from the community.

“We love to accept donations as long as they are in good condition!” Zaffino said.

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