Libraries now offer more than books

A library in Pima County, Ariz., has collections of seeds available to borrow, grow and then return. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – In an attempt to stay relevant, some libraries are turning to objects other than books.

Among the stacks of literature, there are also fishing poles, baking pans, knitting needles and telescopes available for people to check out.

USA Today reports that a library in Ann Arbor, Mich., circulates energy meters that members can take home to measure how much energy their appliances use.

Soon, the library will start circulating science equipment, such as microscopes and possibly even life-size skeletons, to help kids participate in science fairs.

A library in Pima County, Ariz., has collections of seeds available to borrow, grow and then return. It has circulated 7,000 packets of seeds in just over a year.

Some say that offering a variety of tools to keep public libraries relevant in the digital age is an effective attempt. Others say offering products that are current should be expected of public libraries, since the institutions are funded by public dollars.

WTOP’s Rosemary Frisino Toohey contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.


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