A new “library of things” lets you test your hidden genius by borrowing nearly anything


A new service from the Sacramento Public Library will let you borrow more than books – much more. The California-based library is now offering a variety of other items to lend out, such as musical instruments, sewing machines, electronics and games.

Located inside Sacramento Public Library’s Arcade location, the library also offers 3D printers and scanners for public use, and they even have a bike-repair station.

According to their website, to borrow an item you must be at least 18 years old, unless borrowing a video game. Customers can browse the online catalog and place holds on items that they want to take out. Once the item becomes available, the borrower first in line can pick the item up.

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Prior to borrowing, a lending agreement must be signed, which lays out the guidelines. Customers may only borrow one item at a time. An item may be borrowed for three weeks, and may be renewed up to six times, but only if there is not another borrower waiting. The overdue fine is $1 per day, and the borrower is responsible for taking care of the item and will be billed accordingly if it is lost or returned damaged.

Some of the items available to borrow are: a ukulele, keyboard, drums, guitars, sewing machine, button maker, laminator, screen printing kit, GoPro camera, projector and a collection of 55 video games and 62 board games.

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The items in the library were chosen by the library patrons through a voting process. A Library Services and Technology Act grant administered through the California State Library funded the project.

The Library of Things is a wonderful and incredibly useful development for the community. I’m sure many people have gone out and paid top dollar for an item or gadget that they’ve only ended up using once or twice, while the rest of the year it gathers dust and takes up space in storage. Sewing back together your favourite quilt doesn’t have to come with an investment. With this new program, all it takes is a quick trip to the library. I hope to see this program implemented in other libraries across the world.

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