Thursday, July 2, 2015

Maine Libraries

Sports equiptment for check-out: “Our Library checks out basketballs to be used on the courts near the library.  We also have frisbees, jump ropes and hacky sacks available to borrow. The balls have been replaced many times through the years and have resulted in much good will with the kids afterschool. When they (the kids!) start bouncing off the walls, we suggest they bounce a basketball instead. We don’t require a card, just something of value like a backpack, instrument, cell phone, laptop. This is never a problem because the kids are only too happy to off load their stuff and let us keep an eye on it.”  link

The Portland Public Library, Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick and Raymond Village Library in Maine offer telescope checkout for patrons. As part of the program, local astronomy clubs, who serve as the caretakers for the telescopes, host sky gazing parties, sidewalk events and other programs at libraries on how to use the telescope and how to look at the night sky.”

York Library (Maine)
There was a time when the main purpose of the local library was as a place for students to get books for book reports. But today families often use the library together. The York Public Library loans out 10 nature backpacks, each filled with maps, books, nets and other items. Each is designed to let the family explore their local forests, ponds, marshes or beaches together.

“I was surprised, it didn’t seem like a resource I’d expect a library to have, yet it is a wonderful extension of what they do,” said Amy Burke of York, who has borrowed the backpacks five or six times with her two sons, ages 3 and 5. “It’s fun because they inspire you to explore.”

Backpacks loaned out at the York Library include this nature exploration kit with a butterfly net, butterfly puppet, magnifying lenses, books about butterflies, a log book, a CD about butterflies, plant identification cards and a book with butterfly information. Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
At York Public Library, patron Sandy Lovell came up with the idea of nature backpacks, mainly as something that grandparents could do with visiting grandchildren. Lovell said she’d rather not talk about her role with the backpacks, but Robert Waldman, director of York Public Library, said Lovell donated 10 of them, each filled with about $100 to $200 worth of items.

The backpacks are designed for exploring specific local natural areas, like marshes or beaches. They come filled with maps of the area, of trails, as well as books, DVDs, scavenger hunt lists and equipment ranging from a magnifying glass to a mini aquarium.

What you’re supposed to do as a library is give people the means to go out and explore their world, and these backpacks do that,” said Waldman. “Libraries will always be relevant if they provide what the community can learn from, what is of interest to the community.”   link

McArthur Public Library,  Biddeford Maine
The McArthur Public Library in Biddeford is the first library locally to offer recreational equipment as part of its regular circulation of materials.

Library Director Jeff Cabral said this week that the idea of adding recreational equipment – including snow shoes, binoculars, fishing poles, lawn games and more – came from a committee he created last year to “research innovative collection-building ideas.”

 “We had seen other libraries in Maine and beyond generating interest through loaning non-traditional items,” he added. “We wanted to find items that complemented our mission and ones that would encourage new and existing visitors to frequent the library.”

He said the recreational materials have only been available for a couple weeks, but already the library is getting requests to hold items, which then go out again as soon as they are returned. For now, Cabral said, the recreational equipment is only being made available to adults and are only for McArthur patrons, meaning the equipment is not available for interlibrary loans.
“We are excited about this new initiative, and we all look forward to the spring and summer when the lawn games such as volleyball and croquet will no doubt be in demand for graduation parties, family get-togethers and cookouts,” Cabral said.


Limerick, Maine

The Limerick Maine Library loans out 30 jigsaw puzles. They loan about 2 a month. They also loan board games.