Friday, August 7, 2015

Survey of Libraries that lend Sporting Equipment

Survey Participants:
Jeff Carbral Director Mac Arthur Library, Biddleford Maine 
Mary Jane Gordon, Public Health Nurse, Kingston Sports for Life
Rivakh Hass: Director Sacramento Library, California 
Eli Neiburger, Deputy Director Ann Arbor District Library, Ann Arbor Michigan 
 Anne Pascoe, Librarian,  City of West Torrens,Library,  Australia

  Jeff Carbral Biddleford Library

" A few introductory comments first: Our recreation collection is relatively new. We are a private non-profit public library, and our City does have a very active Recreation department with good equipment. Having said that, we may be able to work closer with them in the future. Your paper is very interesting. We primarily established our rec collection to encourage new users, promote physical health and community wellness, and challenge the traditional norms with our current patrons of what a library loans, thereby asking them to use our services in new and different ways."

Anne Pascoe. City of West Torrens

"Sports collections do exist in  a large proportion of the[130] public libraries and were initially established through government funding via a 'Be Active' grant some years ago. Many individual councils have continued to fund the collections for their community."

Rivakh Hass: Director Sancramento Library

"I love your idea. It’s a natural because we should have been doing it for decades so perhaps its time has come.

Sadly Sacramento Public Library only loans ping pong paddles, and these from one branch. One of our City Council members donated them because there’s a table in the park adjacent to the library. So far that seems to be working successfully.

We have a “Library of Things” and encouraged the community nominate items that they wanted us to acquire. They then voted but alas, sports equipment was not a choice. We have hope, though, that in a future round we will be able to add some.

I don’t know about libraries in the U.S., but I was privileged to visit the Salisbury Libraries in South Australia a few years ago and was so excited to see that the lending of recreation equipment was very popular. I just took a peek at their catalog and noticed that equipment is still being loaned. Here’s a link:

Rivka let me know that  the Sacramento Public Library had a branch that loaned ping pong paddles to the adjacent park. I called the branch, spoke to a librarian,  and their answers are in the survey.

How much usage does your recreation  equipment get ?

Jeff Carbral Biddleford Library:Our snowshoes have been very popular. Our lawn games and more spring/summer items (fishing pole, a variety of lawn games, etc) need to be promoted more but do get borrowed from time to time. We also have binoculars and a telescope that are popular.

 Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library:Tons! Especially in summer.  They're some of our most popular tools.

 Ann Arbor Usage Statistics of Sports Equipment Snapshot taken on 4/2/2015

                                                        Number          In User   % In use
Tumbler Tower                                   4                     4             100%
Marble Bowl                                       5                     5             100%
Giant Checkers                                    2                     2             100%
Mini Ping Pong                                    5                     4               80%
Kubb                                                     5                     0              0%
Skittles                                                  5                     4               80%   
Rollors                                                   4                    2               50%
Two way radios                                      3                    3              100%
Metal Detector                                       4                    4              100%
Giant Dominoes                                     4                     4             100%

(Parks311: Looking at Ann Arbors catalog I gleaned the above lending data)

 Anne Pascoe. City of West Torrens: Our sports collection is well used. We have a range of items from kettle balls, Zumba items, yoga mats, boxing gloves through to hockey & lacrosse sticks, bats and balls. The rate of usage is seasonal as the weather is better for outdoor summer sports such as cricket, tennis and pool toys, flippers and goggles and so the summer loans will usually be more than the winter loans. The most popular items are the balls - netballs, volleyballs, footy (AFL), soccer and rugby. These are also the most stolen item types but overall our loss rate is low.

Sacramento Public Library: Ping pong paddles and balls are borrowed about 52 times a year.

Tompkins Square Library lends a chess set for use in the library, this set is used over 200 times a year.

Do you lose much equipment ?

Jeff Carbral Biddleford Library: We have actually only had two items not returned to use and we did bill for it. This was our portable DVD player and also our portable GPS (not true recreational items but we thought it would be great for families who were travellling - obviously, it was and someone drove away with both of them for good!)

  Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library:Sure, but not really any more than any other circulating collection.

 Sacramento Public Library: No loss

How do you deal with people who don't return equipment?

 Jeff Carbral Biddleford Library:Depending on varying circulation periods, we do have fine notices that will go out, then eventually (much with other library items) if people owe us over a certain amount, we utilize a collection agency.


  Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library:It's no different than any other library materials. Patrons are responsible for the items they've checked out and will be fined, then billed, for overdue items.  Patrons with a fine balance above $10 cannot check out materials, and accounts over $40 and 120 days overdue are sent to a collection agency.

Anne Pascoe. City of West Torrens:Our sports collection is treated as part of our general library collection. We also have a toy library aimed at the under 5s with dress up costumes, puzzles, blocks, dolls houses, puppets, toddler kick a long cars and so on. You need a library card to borrow, membership to the library is free but if you lose or damage an item you have to pay the replacement value. If you do not return or pay for an item you are unable to borrow from any library or use the computers until your outstanding account is cleared. The benefit of our system is that the one card works in every SA library but the downside is  it will also not work in anySA library if you owe  AUD$30 or more - which means no borrowing or pc access. Currently West Torrens charges fines for overdue items (to a max of $5 per item) but many libraries do not.

How do you store your recreation equipment ?
 Jeff Carbral Biddleford Library:We purchased most of our equipment with cases or bags, and it is stored in staff areas of the library. We have laminated placards on a display with pics of the equipment in a public area so patrons are aware of it.  

  Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library:In the bags and cases they circulate in, on simple shelving carts in our lobby.  You can see the collection in this video made by a local musician:

Anne Pascoe. City of West Torrens I can't answer for all the libraries here in SA because we all have different storage solutions to suit our buildings. At West Torrens the sporting equipment is stored on open shelving near the service desk. Customers choose what they would like to borrow and we check it out to them on the Library Management System..

 Sacramento Public Library: To check out equipment we have a clipboard, we take their name and phone number and put it on the board.    If they havn't returned the paddles as closing time comes near we give them a call.

Do you do any promotion of your recreation equipment loan in  nearby parks?

 Jeff Carbral Biddleford Librayr:We have not done this but it's a great idea. We do need to promote our collection more often and through a variety of means.
   Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library:A little. We had a big event planned in a park this summer but it didn't quite come together and we'll try again next summer.

  Jeff Carbral Biddleford Library: our City does have a very active Recreation department with good equipment. Having said that, we may be able to work closer with them in the future

Sacramento Public Library:No they are another city department.   There are a couple of signs in the library, that let people know we have the equipment.

Anne Pascoe. City of West TorrensWe are lucky that we have a park right outside our windows. Staff have been known to tell a bunch of rowdy kids to take a ball, go out to the park and work off their excess energy before they come back inside and sometimes the youth staff will start or join in the game for a little while - its all part of building good relationships.

Do you do joint activities with your nearby parks?

Jeff Carbral Biddleford Library We do not at this time.  

  Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library:Not really.  Like many others, we have a hard time partnering with parks & rec as they're stretched pretty thin.    

Anne Pascoe. City of West Torrens:The library holds joint activities with the Obesity Prevention And Lifestyle team (OPAL) around active play and nature play in various parks and playgrounds around our Council area. OPAL have created nature kits for loan from the Toy Library aimed at different age groups with equipment like bug catchers, magnifying glasses, a picnic rug and insect books for identification. We also occasionally hold events like volleyball tournaments or frisbee catching in the park as a school holiday activity.